Friday, May 04, 2012

Squeeze Play Averted

On Wednesday night, the Transportation Commission voted on whether to accept the High Capacity Transit Corridor Work Group's recommendation against rapid transit in dedicated lanes on Route 1. 

At a hearing where our neighborhood turned out in force -- against rapid transit on Route 1 as well as other streets in our community -- the Commission not only endorsed the original December 2011 resolution from the Work Group but added new language to ensure connectivity to Fairfax County will be achieved through Corridor B (Duke Street) not Route 1, while acnowledging that Maryland pass through-traffic is a problem that needs to be addressed.

The issue will next proceed to Council.  The successful outcome of this meeting for our neighborhood owes much to three Commissioners in particular, and we thank Kevin Posey, who as Chairman provided leadership and balance; Donna Fossum, who contributed her legal expertise in drafting the final language, and Jesse Jennings, whose loyalty to his old neighborhood remains steadfast. 

Here is the language adopted by the Commission:

"The Alexandria Transportation Commission concurs with the recommendation made by the High Capacity Transit Corridor Work Group in the following Resolution that the Work Group adopted on December 15, 2011:

'Whereas the Alexandria Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan conceptually envisioned the eventual location of high capacity transit in dedicated lanes in the portion of Corridor A south of Braddock METRO Station; and
'Whereas the High Capacity Transit Corridor Work Group was appointed to recommend methods for implementing the Alexandria Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan to City Council; 
'Be it hereby resolved that the High Capacity Transit Corridor Work Group recommends that there be no dedicated-lane high capacity transit on the portion of Corridor A south of Braddock METRO Station. 
'Instead, the High Capacity Transit Corridor Work Group recommends that resources be used to explore the possibility of putting circulator buses/trolleys or other forms of conventional and scale appropriate transit in this portion of the City.'
"After careful review of the high capacity transit options in the portion of Corridor A south of the Braddock METRO Rail Station, the Transportation Commission has determined that dedicated right-of-way transit is not viable on the streets of Old Town.

"The Transportation Commission recommends that City Council explore the expansion of East-West connections between Old Town and the existing METRO Rail Stations as the most effective way to encourage transit use in this area.  Any such connections made must be done with maximum sensitivity to residents’ concerns and the historic infrastructure in Old Town.  The Transportation Commission further recommends that City Council direct City staff to engage in community outreach on this matter and that at least one public hearing be held by the Transportation Commission on any proposal regarding East-West connectivity before any action to implement such is taken.

"While the Work Group considered and ultimately rejected all three proposed 'build' options for the portion of Transit Corridor A south of Braddock METRO Rail Station (i.e., (1) West Street, (2) Patrick/Henry Street, and (3) Washington Street), the Transportation Commission urges City staff to explore additional connectivity from Transit Corridor B into Fairfax County via the Huntington METRO Rail Station, and into Maryland via the Wilson Bridge, and to present all findings to the Transportation Commission and City Council on any potential 'build' options identified."