Monday, March 28, 2016
We became concerned about reports in the Stafford and Sportsylvania news media that current and future development would put thousands more single-ocupant vehicles on I-95 and I-395 every weekday, to the point where HOT lanes in Arlington would be stop-go during morning rush hours. So we asked a neighbor to drive to VDOT's meeting last Thursday in Stafford, which was about extending HOT Lanes 2 miles farther South to 'relieve congestion and improve accessibility'.
It took our neighbor 2 1/2 hours to reach the meeting, via non-HOT lanes, just off Exit 140. Reason for the HOT Lanes extension is so that Stafford County residents who drive to work in DC, at the Pentagon, and elswwhere inside the DC Beltway won't be backed up in traffic for 2 miles exiting the HOT Lanes PM rush hour and backed up for 1/2 mile or more accessing the HOT lanes during AM rush hour. Cost to unhappy SOV drivers is about $15 one-way via EZ-Pass between Stafford and Alexandria, which is driving the 2-mile HOT lanes extension.
Massive development is occurring in Stafford County, mostly to build 'affordable' townhouses. A big selling point for the developers is ease of access to HOT lanes for single-occupant vehicle drivers who work at the Pentagon, in DC, and so on, typically an hour or less to the Pentagon.
Which answers the question - what happened to the middle class that was gentrified out of Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, DC, because of 'Smart Growth'?
It's obvious that HOT lanes in Arlington would be jammed with single-occupant vehicles a short time after they're constructed. It's also obvious that members of the General Assembly know all about what they want to inflict on Arlington, since they often drive to and from Richmond.
But don't believe us. Take a relaxing trip on I-95 to Stafford County some weekday afternoon, after 3 PM, and see for yourselves.