Alexandria hopes to combat side street gridlock due in part to GPS apps

traffic on duke street service road in alexandria
Traffic on the service road to Duke Street in Alexandria is seen backed up the afternoon of June 20, 2018. In the distance, traffic is seen turning from Moncure Drive onto the service road. While traffic was unusually heavy on that date because of Wilson Bridge problems, it is not uncommon for traffic to back up on Moncure Drive and East Taylor Run Parkway on weekday afternoons. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
In Alexandria, East Taylor Run Parkway, Moncure Drive and Hilton Street are streets drivers use to cut through to get to the Telegraph Road ramp off Duke Street and to the Capital Beltway. Access to those streets will be restricted beginning on June 25, 2018. The restrictions will mean no right turns off of those streets between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Residents asked for a longer time frame for the restrictions, but the city opted for the two-hour window. The Alexandria Traffic Board on Monday, June 25 is taking up a separate measure that would make the streets no through streets during those times. (Courtesy Facebook/Nadene Zuidema) (Courtesy Facebook/Nadene Zuidema)
Traffic backs up frequently approaching West Taylor Run Parkway along the service road to Duke Street. Traffic turns left from the service road and crosses onto the ramp to Telegraph Road. 

Alexandria used to have a police officer help with traffic control at the intersection, but has told residents it does not have the money to pay overtime. 

After years of study, the city agreed to post No Right Turn signs from East Taylor Run Parkway, Moncure Drive and Hilton Street. All three turn onto the service road. The restriction begins Monday, June 25, 2018.

(WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backs up frequently approaching West Taylor Run Parkway along the service road to Duke Street. Traffic turns left from the service road and crosses onto the ramp to Telegraph Road. Alexandria used to have a police officer help with traffic control at the intersection, but police have told residents the department does not have the money to pay overtime. After years of study, the city agreed to post no right turn signs from East Taylor Run Parkway, Moncure Drive and Hilton Street. All three turn onto the service road. The restriction begins Monday, June 25, 2018. This photo was taken in 2015. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic is seen late on Wednesday, June 201, 2018 on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria. Because of the Wilson Bridge problems, traffic was backed up past 9 p.m.  (Courtesy Facebook)
Traffic is seen late on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria. Because of the Wilson Bridge problems, traffic was backed up past 9 p.m. (Courtesy Facebook) (Courtesy Facebook)
tour buses on East Taylor Run Parkway
Two tour buses cut down Alexandria’s East Taylor Run Parkway on May 18, 2018. The buses were so large that no traffic could come up the street. Cars on the left of this photo are parked. Buses, tractor-trailers and large trucks frequently take this quiet street because there is a weight limit on the parallel street, West Taylor Run Parkway. West Taylor Run Parkway also has two traffic lights, the second one leads to the Duke Street ramp to Telegraph Road. It took nearly an hour for the buses to travel two blocks on East Taylor Run Parkway. The blockage was such that residents could not use the street. Some could not get to their homes and parked on streets outside the neighborhood. Had an emergency occurred, authorities would not have been able to get onto the street. Residents complained to the city not only about the backup, but also about fumes from the idling vehicles. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backs up on East Taylor Run Parkway on May 16, 2018. Drivers cutting through the street are known for blocking driveways, striking parked cars, cursing out residents and honking their horns in stopped traffic. Neighbors have been complaining to the Alexandria city officials for years, as well as to the police. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backs up on East Taylor Run Parkway on May 16, 2018. Drivers cutting through the street are known for blocking driveways, striking parked cars and trash cans, cursing out residents and honking their horns in stopped traffic. On one recent spring afternoon, a large landscaping truck backed into a parked SUV as it tried to make way for oncoming traffic. Neighbors have been complaining to the Alexandria city officials for years, as well as to the police. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
driver goes wrong way on east taylor run parkway
A driver decides on May 10, 2018 that East Taylor Run Parkway should not be a two-way street and goes the wrong way, trying to get around cars waiting to turn onto the Duke Street service road. Asked why he was going the wrong way, the driver told Colleen Kelleher, who has lived on the street since 1996, that he was a disabled veteran who worked as a federal contractor and that the police would never do anything about it. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The driver going the wrong way encounters a car coming the other way. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The driver going the wrong way encounters a car coming the other way. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backed up on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria
A frustrated motorcyclist opts to drive down the wrong side of an Alexandria street on May 10, 2018. When asked why he was cutting in front of traffic, he said he couldn’t idle in traffic. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backed up on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria
In this photo, taken Sept. 19, 2017, a driver (seen behind the white car) drives in the wrong lane on East Taylor Run Parkway and tries to turn at the same time the blue truck does. Traffic from East Taylor Run Parkway is turning onto a service road that parallels Duke Street. The white car is blocking the intersection, keeping residents of the Alexandria street from reaching their homes after work. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The cars on the right are parked on East Taylor Run Parkway, a two-way street that frequently gets backed up as drivers cut through the Alexandria neighborhood to get to Capital Beltway and southern Fairfax County. Drivers frequently block the street so that others coming the other way cannot use the road. This photo was taken on May 16, 2018. WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The cars on the right are parked on East Taylor Run Parkway, a two-way street that frequently gets backed up as drivers cut through the Alexandria neighborhood to get to Capital Beltway and southern Fairfax County. Drivers frequently block the street so that others coming the other way cannot use the road. Neighbors who live on the street are known to check in with one another to find out what the traffic conditions are like before they leave work to come home. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Drivers cutting through this Alexandria street with approximately 80 homes often wait long periods of time to turn onto a Duke Street service road. Apps direct them to the street, even though it is often faster to take a parallel street that has two traffic lights. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Drivers cutting through this Alexandria street with approximately 80 homes often wait long periods of time to turn onto a Duke Street service road. Apps direct them to the street, even though it is often faster to take a parallel street that has two traffic lights. Drivers often take up too much of the two-way street. Other neighborhoods around the region experience similar problems. Drivers have told Colleen Kelleher, who lives in the neighborhood, that apps like Google Maps or Waze tell them to go that way, often leaving them frustrated.  (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Driver on East Taylor Run Parkway
The driver in this photo became upset when Colleen Kelleher asked her to stop honking her horn in stopped traffic on East Taylor Run Parkway on May 10, 2018. The driver, who had a child and another passenger in the car, is seen here taking Kelleher’s photo and telling her, among other things, to “have a blessed day.” Kelleher has lived on the street since 1996. Drivers are known to honk on the street that has a number of young children. They also are known to play their car radios very loudly. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
traffic backed up on service road to Duke Street
This trio of for-hire SUVs on Sept. 19, 2017 initially tried to come down East Taylor Run Parkway to get to the Duke Street service road. When East Taylor Run was backed up, they turned around in driveways and sped down neighboring Moncure Street past children playing outside to get to the service road, where they ended up stuck in traffic with everyone else. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
driver on wrong side of road in Alexandria
Drivers along the service road sometimes opt to drive on the wrong side of the road to get to the traffic light at West Taylor Run Parkway. Had this driver done so, he would have been traveling on the wrong side of the double yellow line for more than a block. Photos like this have been tweeted to Alexandria police and city council members. They also have been tweeted to @CentralAlexVA and posted on a Facebook page called TrafficZen – Central Alexandria citizens for traffic safety & less congestion. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
traffic on east taylor run parkway
Alexandria’s East Taylor Run Parkway is like many two-way streets where drivers speed through neighborhoods to shorten their commutes. This photo, take April 7, 2015, shows commuters hurrying down the road to get to the traffic light at Duke Street and West Taylor Run Parkway. The posted speed limit of 25 mph is the same as on nearby Janneys Lane and King Street. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
traffic on east taylor run parkway
When afternoon traffic backs up on streets like Alexandria’s East Taylor Run Parkway, residents are unable to get off the street to run errands, to shop, to get to work and to pick up their children from activities. While many try to time their daily activities to avoid the traffic, it has meant lost revenue for Alexandria. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backed up on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria
Traffic backs up on East Taylor Run Parkway, a street with about 80 homes. This photo was take in March 2015. Neighbors have been raising concerns with city officials and police for years. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Drivers idle on a stretch of East Taylor Run Parkway on March 10, 2015. The problem with cut-through traffic has increased in recent years. Neighbors along the street petitioned to get speed humps because the cut-through drivers, when not in stopped traffic, are known to speed down the stretch. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
(1/23)
traffic on duke street service road in alexandria
Traffic backs up frequently approaching West Taylor Run Parkway along the service road to Duke Street. Traffic turns left from the service road and crosses onto the ramp to Telegraph Road. 

Alexandria used to have a police officer help with traffic control at the intersection, but has told residents it does not have the money to pay overtime. 

After years of study, the city agreed to post No Right Turn signs from East Taylor Run Parkway, Moncure Drive and Hilton Street. All three turn onto the service road. The restriction begins Monday, June 25, 2018.

(WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic is seen late on Wednesday, June 201, 2018 on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria. Because of the Wilson Bridge problems, traffic was backed up past 9 p.m.  (Courtesy Facebook)
tour buses on East Taylor Run Parkway
Traffic backs up on East Taylor Run Parkway on May 16, 2018. Drivers cutting through the street are known for blocking driveways, striking parked cars, cursing out residents and honking their horns in stopped traffic. Neighbors have been complaining to the Alexandria city officials for years, as well as to the police. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
driver goes wrong way on east taylor run parkway
The driver going the wrong way encounters a car coming the other way. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic backed up on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria
Traffic backed up on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria
The cars on the right are parked on East Taylor Run Parkway, a two-way street that frequently gets backed up as drivers cut through the Alexandria neighborhood to get to Capital Beltway and southern Fairfax County. Drivers frequently block the street so that others coming the other way cannot use the road. This photo was taken on May 16, 2018. WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Drivers cutting through this Alexandria street with approximately 80 homes often wait long periods of time to turn onto a Duke Street service road. Apps direct them to the street, even though it is often faster to take a parallel street that has two traffic lights. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Driver on East Taylor Run Parkway
traffic backed up on service road to Duke Street
driver on wrong side of road in Alexandria
traffic on east taylor run parkway
traffic on east taylor run parkway
Traffic backed up on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For neighborhoods which have become GPS shortcuts during rush hour in the D.C. area, getting to and from your home can be frustrating.

People who live along East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria have experienced the headaches of being a common route for mapping apps like Google Maps and Waze. The apps will re-route drivers down their streets to avoid the gridlock of main roads as motorists look to get to Duke Street, Telegraph Road and eventually the Beltway.

“Our tranquil street has been besieged by an unconscionable level of cut through traffic, which just sits and idles and blocks all of our driveways,” said one Alexandria resident, Dana, who didn’t want her last name used.

Some residents say the problems have been around for years as the city and residents struggled to come up with a solution which both agree on.

“It’s reached a boiling point in the past year, where we have seen actual altercations between motorists trying to get through the area and residents,” said Ashkan Bayatpour, who has lived on East Taylor Run Parkway for five years.

After working with residents, the City of Alexandria has decided to put in place a no right turn regulation which prevents drivers from using side streets like East Taylor Run and Montcure Drive as a way around the delays. On Monday, East Taylor Run was quiet, as members of the Alexandria Police Department stop the occasional car which missed the sign, discouraging them from using the route.

“I am very excited to see that the police are here enforcing that rule,” said Sharon Solorzano who came out to greet the officers, spending the afternoon warning drivers about the change.

“People won’t be able to kind of cut through that neighborhood and come back out to get back out on to Telegraph Road,” said Hillary Orr, the deputy director for transportation at Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services.

According to Orr, this regulation change is a pilot program as the city continues to look at the best way to handle heavy traffic some residential streets see during rush hours. Officials hope the pilot program will answer whether traffic will shift to another neighborhood, causing a similar headache for another set of residents.

“It’s really hard to know exactly where people are gonna go, and how they are going to shift their commute,” Orr said.

The city is in contact with mapping companies, with the hope of having popular GPS apps account for the 4p – 7pm no right turn restriction. On day one, they don’t, with one woman getting a police escort through the neighborhood because her phone wouldn’t take her another way.

Orr said other possible solutions being studied are whether or not to expand the restrictions to others streets, redesigning traffic patterns in the area and also adding speed bumps to streets to discourage through traffic.

With similar situations, around the city, Alexandria is also working with other jurisdictions to come up with solutions. Among the discussion, ways to get more people to carpool and encourage use of public transit, something Orr said is needed to truly make an impact.


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