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Transportation Commission Hears Comments on King Street Metro Redesign

Primary concerns focus on better access and safety

“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

Lee Hernly May 05, 2011 at 05:50 PM
The proposed design needs improvement before implementation. 1) There is space for 6 shuttle buses. Only 2-3 use the lot at any given time. 2) While they are widening the walkway between the station and the Duke Street Pedestrian concourse, there is no plan for any extra lighting along the walkway. It is very dark between the last bus bay and the Duke Street Pedestrian Concourse. There was a woman who was grabbed at King Street probaly along this section of the path. 3) Getting rid of any parking space at the Metro station is stupid to say the least considering the greatest amount of vehicle traffic is people who are wating for someone to get off a train and people dropping others off to get on a train. The City's solution is to create one kiss and ride lane so people will be circulating. This will cause more traffic backups on Diagonal Road beyond what there is currently (from Diagonal Road onto Duke Street in AM & PM rush hour). Does the City REALLY think they will get these people onto buses? Did I mention there is another traffic light on Diagonal Road planned? 4) The City Council, as anti-business as it is, has been attacking the 800+ taxi cabs in Alexandria by reducing their available chances to get fares by over regulating them. One of the few spots they have chances to get fares is at King Street Metro. Reducing the taxi cab spots is not smart at all.
Bea Porter May 06, 2011 at 01:21 PM
To take away the parking lot parking spaces is not a good idea, with the coming of BRAC-133, the City is expecting more people to use the metro, meaning they will need to leave their cars behind. As a resident near the Kind Street metro station, I can not get parking in front of my house most days due to people parking and taking the metro, it will be worse when the BRAC center opens. Maybe instead of a water garden, they should build a parking garage, that would add relief to the BRAC issue. Parking is limited enough in Olde Towne, don't take what is there at the station away.
Peter Farnham May 06, 2011 at 02:15 PM
those of you with comments should contact the city Office of Transit Services. Jim Maslanka (quoted in the story above) is the Chief of the office.

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