Tuesday, March 22, 2011

heated meeting on Meade St. bridge

 The second public meeting on the Meade Street Bridge Alternatives Study presented three alternatives for improving motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian safety and for making Rosslyn and Rt. 50/Arlington Blvd. even more distinguished places.  The meeting presented a large amount of information and went on past 8:30pm.  Proposed improvements shift road intersection geometries from high-speed slip entrance/exits to more urban-style t-intersections with traffic lights.  Widening pedestrian walkways, improving road-sharing with cyclists, and narrowing the roads at the intersections are also elements of the three alternatives. 

 The meeting generated some heated discussion.  Issues of vigorous debate:
  • Luminous bodies being installed on the south side of the bridge. The luminous bodies will be lit, rather than generating light themselves.  The extent of light was a concern.  Detracting from the grandeur of the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial was also a concern.  At least one attendee strongly favored the luminous bodies as objects of wonder to make Rosslyn even more wonderful. 
  • Pedestrian safety vs place-making.  Interest in making Arlington Blvd a notable thoroughfare, and making the Meade St. bridge a distinctive, four-way gateway, long ago stimulated interest in the bridge redesign.   Some felt that motor vehicle traffic on Meade St. must be slowed down as an urgent priority.  Stop signs, however, cannot be legally installed with the current shape of some of the intersections.
  • Tour bus traffic.  TooleDesignGroup collected data on tour bus and school bus traffic across Meade St. bridge for a week in June 2010.  They reported average weekday traffic of 45 buses per day southbound and 31 buses per day northbound. Average reported weekend traffic was 18 buses per day southbound and 14 buses per day northbound.  Residents believe that these figures understate bus traffic by a factor of 10.  The extent to which bus traffic should be considered as part of the Meade St. bridge renovations was discussed.  Unfortunately, success in traffic calming will mean that buses will remain for longer on Meade St. in front of the adjacent residences. 
The Meade St. bridge study is not a construction plan, but the development of redesign concepts.  Another meeting on Meade St. bridge alternatives will occur in roughly a month and a half.  Some controversy is to be expected, particularly with public art.  Fortunately, the Meade St. bridge is so bad that making it overall much better will not be difficult.

Related coverage:

No comments: