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Alexandria looking to make Duke Street intersection at Carlyle entrance more pedestrian friendly

Duke Street and Dulany Street (image via Google Maps)

While the City of Alexandria is eyeing major changes to Duke Street west of Old Town, one change could be coming to the street right as it passes the Carlyle neighborhood.

The city could be swapping out one of the left turn lanes at the intersection with Dulany Street with a pedestrian refuge.

“Currently, there are two left-turn lanes that serve drivers traveling westbound on Duke Street and turning left onto Dulany Street into the Carlyle neighborhood,” staff said in a report (page 35) to the Traffic and Parking Board. “Staff has received past comments from residents and observed that the two left-turn lanes appear to be significantly

The report notes that dual left-turn lanes are relatively uncommon and typically reserved for intersections with extremely high left-turn volumes, as they create challenges such as:

  • Limited visibility of pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Greater number of conflict points, which carries an increased risk of crashes.
  • Limited ability to allow for concurrent left-turn movements for both directions, which can impact intersection operations.
  • Contribution to an overall auto-dominated street environment that can be intimidating for people walking and biking.
  • Reduced space for other intersection design features.

The city created dual left-turn lanes at Eisenhower Avenue and Mill Road recently. The project was criticized by city leaders as being outdated and out of keeping with new Vision Zero standards, but by the point it came back for city review, it was too expensive to cancel.

At Duke Street, staff said the dual left-turn lanes are underutilized.

“Staff found that the volume of left turns is regularly less than 50 vehicles per hour during the peak period,” the report said. “Based on this analysis, dual left-turn lanes are not warranted, and one left-turn lane is sufficient to accommodate left-turning vehicles from westbound Duke Street to southbound Dulany Street.”

Instead, the report said the recommendation is to install a new pedestrian refuge area for the existing crosswalk, “a treatment that is shown to reduce pedestrian crashes at intersections by up to 46%,” the report said.

A pedestrian tunnel also runs beneath Duke Street, connecting the King Street Metro station to the Carlyle neighborhood.

The proposal is scheduled to go to the Traffic and Parking Board today (Monday) at 7 p.m. for review.

Proposed Duke Street pedestrian refuge (image via City of Alexandria)

Image via Google Maps

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