Nan's notes


City Council sent a letter to VDOT in support of the $80 million ramp from the HOV lanes on I-395 to Seminary Road. It may be finished by the summer of 2015. The City favors no right turn from the HOV ramp to Seminary Road, but, if VDOT decides to do so anyway, then the City would like a safety study done to evaluate the resulting heavy traffic on Seminary Road in front of Hammond Middle School and the library.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact, known as a FONSI, on the I-395 ramp project at Seminary Road, which means that an environmental impact statement is not required. The $80 million ramp is planned to open to traffic in summer 2015.

VDOT held its version of a “public meeting” about its plans to build an additional lane on I-395 north between Duke Street and Seminary Road referred to as the Auxiliary Lane plans. This project will begin at Duke Street but end before it gets to the bridge over Sanger Avenue. The widening of the section between Sanger Avenue and Seminary Road was already in the plans to build the ramp from the HOV lanes of I-395 to Seminary Road. Residents on Van Dorn Street between Seminary Road and Duke will lose the green space by I-395 and their properties will likely lose value as the roadway will be 12 feet closer to them.

Nan’s opinion: VDOT continues to try to sell the HOV ramp as a project for the Army to get to the new BRAC building. This is misleading since the Army refuses to pay for the ramp because so few of its employees are commuting from the south to Mark Center. This ramp is a plan VDOT has had since the 1990s. Even after VDOT studies showed that the ramp would only improve movements in the am peak hours and that the problem was on I-395 not Seminary Road, VDOT wanted to build it. (Remember: they move vehicles.)

Nan’s opinion: Until 2011, the Mayor and City Council opposed the ramp because it would negatively affect the quality of life of Alexandria’s residents. Their rational for changing their policy was they requested a restriction on traffic flow from the ramp so vehicles could only go west (a left turn in the morning). VDOT dismissed this request as not cost effective transportation planning. SHA has opposed any ramp to preserve our neighborhoods, prevent cut through traffic, and ensure pedestrian safety at the Hammond Middle School.

Pedestrian access on Seminary Road once the new ramp is built remains a problem for VDOT. One concept is a bridge from Southern Towers across I-395 to Seminary Plaza (near the Burke Library). Fear with this design, people will continue to walk on the shoulders and jaywalk on Seminary Road.
Road improvement projects funded by the Army for $20 million began this summer near Mark Center. They are expected to mitigate the impacts of the BRAC on intersections along Seminary Road and Beauregard Street and on the southbound on-ramp of I-395.
VDOT held an informational meeting about the proposed $80-million ramp from the I-395 HOV lanes to Seminary Road. Despite controversy over investing so much money in a ramp that will only improve traffic flow on I-395 in the am peak hours and will not improve I-395 in the pm peak hours, VDOT wants to build it. The ramp is expected to move at least 1,400 vehicles from the interchange directly to Seminary Road.