Bring 15-Minute DASH Service to Eisenhower

Bring 15-Minute DASH Service to Eisenhower

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Eisenhower Avenue needs 15-minute bus service during peak hours. The current Alexandria Transit Vision Plan leaves Eisenhower at 30-minute frequency until 2030.

We ask Alexandria City Council and the DASH Board of Directors to amend the plan to bring more frequent service to Eisenhower by 2022 to support continued economic growth, improved livability for residents, and fewer cars on our streets.

The Eisenhower Valley is booming in new residential and commercial construction. It is an economic engine for Alexandria, increasingly providing improvements to innovation, learning, and living.

The 2022 Alexandria Transit Vision plan must address this growth. Our city is speeding toward increased car dependency on Eisenhower Avenue without adequate roads, parking, or public transit. Improving bus service is a critical part of the solution.

Unmitigated mobility and traffic problems on Eisenhower Avenue clog Alexandria streets with more traffic.

DASH ridership on Eisenhower is already strong, averaging 175 riders each weekday. This number will grow, since several new apartment buildings are planned or under construction along Eisenhower, including partial conversion of the Victory Center to residential. Long awaited growth is great news, but these new residents will either ride the bus to Metro stations or add to the unmitigated traffic problem.

Car-bound Alexandria residents already endure daily traffic jams on the east and west end of Eisenhower. Their only option is to jockey between commuters lining up for the beltway ramps. Once in their cars, residents head through Alexandria to get to work.

Because of this traffic crisis, off-peak service increases are not a reasonable replacement. Previous drafts of the 2022 plan reflected the need for bus service on Eisenhower Avenue at 15-minute intervals, but they were downgraded after public outcry in areas with less need. The DASH Board of Directors reasoned the Eisenhower would experience a net increase in 2022 when factoring in off-peak increases. This is counter to DASH’s strategy to have fewer cars on the road by creating a more useful bus network that turns occasional riders into regular riders. Weekday commuters could take the bus regularly. Weekend riders will likely get an Uber. 

Unmitigated mobility and traffic problems on Eisenhower will stifle growth, costing Alexandria a success.

Wegmans, a top-brand grocery store, is under construction on Eisenhower next to a beltway ramp. WMATA is building a massive new headquarters here. These projects are wonderful, but they are certain to attract additional car traffic from around the region.

30-minute bus service until 2030 allows these problems to deepen, limiting business growth and resident livability. Who wants to visit a place where you need a car but has no parking? Who wants to live or work along a congested, unofficial extra lane of the beltway?

Increased peak bus service on Eisenhower would reduce traffic jams by making it easier for residents and commuters to get to work and groceries without cars.

Eisenhower Avenue offers the perfect conditions for a creative approach to solving traffic problems. It runs between two of Alexandria’s four Metro stations. It is lined with empty paved private parking lots. It also has the largest potential for new, livable density of any area in Northern Virginia. 

To support smart growth and reduce traffic for all Alexandrians, bus service on Eisenhower should be at least every 15 minutes by 2022, increasing as needed. For certain, another ten years of low-frequency service on Eisenhower will leave all Alexandrians in a jam.