Commuters tired of unsafe pedestrian walkways, confusing traffic patterns and inconvenient bike facilities at the King Street Metro have the chance to let the Alexandria planners know and to possibly change some of those little, or not so little, irksome details of the daily commute. The City of Alexandria and WMATA will use $4.3 million in grant funding to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians, transit vehicles and taxis at the King Street Metro. The stakeholders presented the King Street Metro Station Access Improvements design in late January and, after the public comment period ends on March 1st, the group will reconsider aspects of the design based on community feedback.
The planners sought to address the cramped and unsafe pedestrian areas, especially the narrow walkways between the station entrance and the Duke Street Tunnel. The new design expands the walkways and creates pedestrian barriers to reduce the number of crossings at the Kiss and Ride area and protect walkers from traffic. However, several people in attendance at the January argued the design does not focus enough on pedestrian access and fails to create the fastest and most direct routes possible. City planners indicated they were open to reworking the pedestrian options, but had safety in mind over efficiency. Another questioner suggested removing all or at least some of the surface parking to increase pedestrian access, something the planners were also open to considering.
Planners also seek to improve problems with vehicular access and circulation, currently there is no re-circulation available for buses or autos. The new plan would allow re-circulation for cars, move the taxi stand farther from the station but would increase the amount of space. The design also attempted to fix problems for bike commuters by increasing the number of racks and moving the bike storage lockers to a more convenient location.
Public comments are due March 1st, email wanda.cudzilo-smith@ alexandriava.gov. The team will take comments into consideration and come up with a final design. With the money already in hand, construction could begin soon thereafter.
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