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Public comment period closing on three Duke Street Transitway options

Alexandria planning staff say there’s no preferred option for the Duke Street transitway, but the three choices offer varying impacts on drivers.

This month, city staff have conducted meetings in a public engagement process to talk about the project and gather input on the three options before a plan is finalized for City Council to consider. City staff will conduct a final open house to discuss the entire project on Wednesday, October 26, at 5:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Avenue).

Residents can also fill out an online feedback form.

The option to have a dedicated center bus lane in the middle of Duke Street would ultimately result in the fastest experience for riders, but the construction would heavily impact traffic an already clogged Duke Street. This option would mean the construction of multiple bus bays.

The second option would convert lanes at the edge of the street into dedicated bus lanes, which would double as turn lanes for vehicles at intersections. The third option would mix buses with regular traffic.

Amy Hillis, a resident of the Duke Gardens neighborhood, says that the city’s presentations are lacking.

“The city says this is an engagement period, and staff is asking citizens to advise on selecting two preferred options,” Hillis said, considering the mixed traffic alternative as a “do-nothing option.”

Hillis added, “Some options will require eminent domain and land acquisition – no notional cost estimate on that. And zero estimate on the cost per bus rider today versus in the future as an end state goal.”

The busy four mile stretch of roadway has been divvied into these sections:

All options include a road widening in segments 2A and 2B.

Construction could start as soon as 2026, but the construction schedule depends on the alternative that is chosen.

“It depends on what the preferred alternative is, that will dictate the design schedule and construction schedule,” Project Manager Will Tolbert said at a community presentation last week. “That’s hard to give you a range, but that’s hard to commit to until we have that confirmed alternative.”

Tolbert continued, “Unless there’s something I haven’t been told, there is no preferred alternative. We’re really truly looking for feedback on this range of alternatives now.”

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