Just recently, the Alexandria Police Department received a first place award (for municipalities with 226-375 officers) for promoting traffic safety in 2017. As an Army veteran of 23 years, and having lived in Alexandria for 33 years, I have a great deal of respect for Alexandria Police Officers, who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep Alexandria safe.
However, I disagree with this award on the basis of what I see with my own eyes, and what has been a chief concern of mine. I have been writing about the traffic lawlessness on our streets for the last 20 years.
As an example, at the King and Union Street intersection during weekends or holidays, pedestrians, automobiles and bikers jostle each other to traverse that particular intersection. Another longstanding issue is that during peak traffic hours, the numerous choke points at Route 1 and the Parkway create traffic jams due to a lack of enforcement on parking in the box, bringing all traffic to a halt.
In either of these cases, we only rarely encounter law enforcement officers directing traffic at those intersections. The irony is that it doesn’t need to be an Alexandria Police Officer directing traffic. This function could be performed by an officer from the Sheriff’s Department, a parking enforcement individual, or even a school crossing guard.
In this instance, the direction to assist must come at a higher level than the Police Department. They get it right in Baltimore, D.C. and Capitol Hill, why can’t we get it right here? Oh wait, they have real leadership ….
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet