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Message boards being placed near Duke Street ahead of upcoming signal overhaul

The City of Alexandria is trying to get the word out about major changes coming to a stretch of Duke Street and the connecting streets.

The proposed overhaul will change traffic patterns along Duke Street near Telegraph Road, a major connection to I-395 and a source of significant backup onto nearby residential streets. The pilot phase for the program is planned to start Monday, Jan. 3. The pilot project is scheduled to end on March 30, followed by a period of traffic analysis.

“The City is considering two pilot projects aimed at reducing regional cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets and shifting traffic onto the major arterials,” the City of Alexandria said on the project website. “To do this, we also must improve the flow of traffic on the arterials and make those routes faster than cutting through the neighborhoods. In the upcoming months, staff will be having conversations with the community on these potential projects.”

The planned change will adjust signal timing on side streets like West Taylor Run Parkway and Cambridge Road, lengthening the long lights in an effort to make those streets less appealing to drivers and, eventually, navigation apps. On the flip side, lights will stay green longer on Duke Street and Quaker Lane.

The short-term impact, the city previously admitted, could be longer backups on the very residential streets the pilot aims to protect, but the goal is an eventual decrease once drivers adjust to the new signal timing.

The city has said residents and drivers will be able to provide weekly feedback on the conditions they’re experiencing along Duke Street and/or the side streets.

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