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Cut-through no more: Duke Street changes yield significant results for nearby residential streets

Traffic backed up in Taylor Run neighborhood off Duke Street, courtesy Jill Hoffman

After years of struggling with terrible traffic and frequent crashes, recent changes to West Taylor Run Parkway have had a substantial impact on the trouble street’s residents.

Alexandria city staff are recommending that a Duke Street Traffic Mitigation pilot — which redirects traffic flow onto Duke Street and off of “cut-through” streets winding through nearby neighborhoods — be made permanent.

The pilot program changed traffic signal timing to prioritize green lights on Quaker Lane and Duke Street while shortening the lights on the cut-through roads, the goal being to disincentivize using the side streets to get around traffic on Duke Street.

At a meeting of the Traffic and Parking Board on Monday, West Taylor Run Parkway resident Leslie Catherwood said the change has had a dramatic impact on residents of the street.

“I’d like to start off by thanking the city for proposing this project and to thank the board for considering permanently closing Telegraph Road from West Taylor Run,” Catherwood said. “As a homeowner on West Taylor Run, this project has vastly improved our quality of life.”

Catherwood said prior to the change, it was nearly impossible for some residents to access their driveways given how backed up traffic was on the street.

“Prior to the change, I could not get into or out of my driveway at all for seven days a week at all hours of the day,” Catherwood said. “The traffic would back up on my street from Duke Street all the way to Janney’s Lane. West Taylor Run became a parking lot.”

Other residents previously told ALXnow the street was prone to frequent crashes. But while it’s not perfect — northbound traffic remains an issue on the street — Catherwood said some of that has changed with the new pilot program.

“Today, we don’t have a problem of this magnitude anymore with southbound traffic,” Catherwood said. “Since the project started, we’ve seen changes in traffic patterns. We no longer have a parking lot on West Taylor Run. The southbound traffic no longer backs up for the entire street.”

The Traffic and Parking Board voted unanimously to recommend the change be made permanent.

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