Alexandria officials test program to limit cut-through traffic between I-395 and I-495

Some Alexandria neighborhoods are popular cut-through’s between interstates 395 and 495, but now the city is trying to limit that.

"This is an area of the city where it just leads to cut through traffic because of its position. We’ve been working with the community for ten years to try and figure out ways to resolve this issue," said Hillary Orr, deputy transportation director in Alexandria.

The city has implemented a two-phase pilot program aimed at pushing people towards Duke Street in order to access Interstate 495 from a Telegraph Road ramp.

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Orr says the first phase has been a success. The city changed the timing of the traffic lights on Quaker Lane and Duke Street to facilitate more traffic to main arteries and away from neighborhoods.

Jim Davidson lives in the neighborhood and says the cut-through traffic is a challenge. 

"The rush hour traffic would come here so they wouldn’t have to go another way to get to Duke Street," Davidson said.

Orr says some of the changes have led to reductions of vehicles going through the neighborhood. Some neighbors tell FOX 5 they have noticed that reduction, while other neighbors say they haven’t.

Phase two of the project is a bit more controversial.

One of the neighborhood roads drivers cut through is West Taylor Run Parkway where they access the Telegraph Road ramp. The second phase will cut off access from West Taylor Run to the ramp and only allow left hand turns on Duke Street.

The change will push more traffic towards Duke Street and have a continuous flow of traffic from Duke to the ramp, save for pedestrian crossings.

"It’s a good trade off for the neighborhood. I think that the convenience will certainly outweigh the added 3 minutes for us to get onto the beltway for other means," said Jay Hallen, who lives in the neighborhood.

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Neighbors say the West Taylor Run backups during rush hours clog up the neighborhood.

During FOX 5’s interview with Hillary Orr a neighbor came to express his frustration with the plan.

"It’s not right, I bought this house for it to access Taylor Run, and so I can get to Eisenhower and get to work in the mornings, you’re adding at least 15-20 minutes," the neighbor told Orr.

Orr told the man she believes the delay will be closer to three minutes.

The plan is to implement this for six months, but evaluate how it’s going after two weeks.

Orr also says the city will use data gathered from the change to remake the intersection in a few years.