“A 10 pound sack with 30 pounds of stuff," was the description offered by Alexandria Chief of Transit Services Jim Maslanka in reviewing how the city must contend with a redesign of King Street Metro to make it safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles.
The city's Transportation Commission held a public hearing Wednesday night to allow public comment on the new design, scheduled to be completed by summer 2013.
In a memo to commission members, Maslanka noted: “The transit needs for the King Street Metrorail station have outstripped the capacity of the existing facility to accommodate them.”
The need for improvements in access—and safety—was underscored by the death of a pedestrian struck by a van in the station parking lot Dec. 18, 2010. Although the city had begun planning to redesign the station in 2008, Maslanka said: “Safety is absolutely a primary concern. There is a lot of competing traffic of different kinds at the station and we want to make it as safe as possible for everybody.”
Among the improvements: Parking for 10 buses, improved signage including an expanded “way finding kiosk,” widened sidewalks and better access to the station from the Duke Street side. The designers are also trying to add greatly improved bicycle parking, including long- and short-term spots as well as spots for short-term rental bikes. Dedicated areas will also be set aside for a taxi stand, hotel and other shuttles, short-term car rentals (such as a ZipCar), and a “kiss-and-ride.”
The area will continue to have landscaping near the King Street side of the station, and several large existing trees will be maintained. A “rain garden” is being considered to capture water runoff.
The four people who made statements suggested various minor improvements in the proposed redesign, but no one opposed it.
Two cab drivers, Jamil Ahmed and Fikru Amdemeskel, called for additional cab stands (space for six is proposed at the moment), because usage of the station has doubled in recent years.
Mollie Danforth from the Commission on Persons with Disabilities commented that the brick surface planned for the walkways around the station was very difficult for disabled persons to navigate. A cement walkway would be much easier to navigate, especially in snow or ice, she said.
Adam Froehlig from the Pedestrian and Bicycling Citizens Group said bicycle parking at the station should be expanded, an additional crosswalk across King Street from the end of Cameron Street should be established, and that signage should be improved.
More information about the redesign is available at: http://alexandriava.gov/TransportationCommission