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Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Odd Use Of Statistics
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Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Odd Use Of Statistics

Kudos to Joe Sestak for his comments in the April 5 Gazette Packet addressing safety statistics that City Council has not done relative to the major lane changes proposed for Seminary Road between North Howard Street and Quaker Lane. Seminary Road needs its scheduled re-pavement due to its condition. However, it appears Council and Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) have been providing safety statistics that are not for the approximate 1.1 mile area (North Howard Street to Quaker Lane) to separately try to also justify narrowing Seminary Road from four lanes to two lanes at the same time — adding turn lanes, two bike lanes, and widening the sidewalks (no mention has been made relative to bus stops in this area.)

As Joe Sestak pointed out in his letter, the accident rate the City uses — not to repave the road, but to justify two bicycle corridors on East Seminary — is actually that of West Seminary, which is 11 times higher than East Seminary (which actually has one of the safest traffic records in Alexandria!) Then why is the safety/accident issue not being emphasized on West Seminary starting westerly at North Howard Street? And why is the City using “safety” in the safe part of East Seminary Road to falsely say that is why bicycle lanes are needed? Every survey, every meeting by city representatives says the bicycle lanes are for safety — but data shows there isn’t an issue here.

The majority of residents in the area are strongly against this illogical and ill-conceived notion for this major change to Seminary Road except for a relatively few guided by and for their special/personal interests. For those who have safety concerns, there are several 25 mph signs, stop lights, walk signs, a speed measurement sign, and crosswalks in this specific stretch of road.

Safety/accidents in this stretch are not the issue here that the City is using as its basis for this major road change. There are none. If this proposed change is as a result of accident statistics compiled by the City then how can we trust their judgement on all the other major road changes they have already made based on their compilation of data? If the majority of taxpaying citizens do not want or need this extraordinary, unnecessary, and costly road change to this portion of Seminary Road then why isn’t Council and T&ES taking heed and is hell bent on its completion just to satisfy the few people who favor it? What safety measures will it provide if there are no safety problems as Joe Sestak provided in his well-researched statistical data? Council and T&ES need to do better research as to where safety measures actually need to be addressed. They need to be mindful of the vast majority of residents who feel there aren’t safety issues of any magnitude between North Howard Street and Quaker lane to justify this significant change. Joe Sestak and others deserve our wholehearted gratitude for their interests in attempting to save this ill-conceived notion from becoming reality. Money would be better spent for additional police/salaries instead of this proposed major road change for “safety/accident:” issues when in fact that is not factually correct — check out the incident numbers for this area of concern. Face facts and the desires of the majority — not the few with influential ability and incorrect data.

Bettie McKay

Alexandria