Impact of Regional Growth

Understanding our Larger Issues – Impacts of Regional Growth

Traffic generated by future development in Potomac Yards, Crystal City, Fort Belvoir and the Mark Center will impact Old Town. Some of these proposed developments will be transit-served and have mandated traffic management plans, but they will still generate considerable volumes of commuter traffic. The imperative to improve traffic flow through Old Town will therefore not go away. The “skinny” historic Old Town street system will not only suffer wear and tear, but have to accommodate increasing north/south through traffic generated by regional growth, and increasing east/west traffic channeled through neighborhoods to new development and attractions at the waterfront.

We must guard against the unintended consequences of incremental traffic “improvements” designed to accommodate more traffic within the existing infrastructure - the free right turn lane here, the one-way street there, the stripping out of on-street parking for HOV or bus lanes, the recalibration of traffic signals to give more green time to motorists, and so on. These actions on their own may seem benign, but collectively can destroy the pedestrian friendly connectivity we take for granted today, How this is managed is central to the quality of life of our community—if not successful, we will be fractured into a series of isolated neighborhood separated by traffic-dominated streets.

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