Duke Street In Motion
Check out our new monthly newsletters to learn more about the Duke Street In Motion process and project updates.
In December, the Advisory Group gave direction to the Project Team to advance the following options for further design and analysis for near-term implementation:
Segment 1 (Ripley to Jordan): Center and Curb Running
Segment 2A (Jordan to Wheeler): Hybrid and Mixed Traffic
Segment 2B (Wheeler to Roth): Bidirectional and Mixed Traffic
Segment 3: Center and Curb Running
Center Running will still be considered in the long-term for Segment 2.
You can learn more about these options in the Design Concept Engagement Materials below.
At their February meeting, the Advisory Group discussed curb features. Most of the curb improvements will be on the north side as indicated on this curb features map . Check out Meeting #8 Materials below for more information.
The next Duke Street In Motion Advisory Group will take place on Thursday, March 16th at 6:30PM at 3000 Business Center Drive (DASH Facility) to discuss the engagement plan, progress on busway designs, and the development of a recommendation from the Advisory Group. Advance meeting materials will be available by March13th under Advisory Group Meeting #9 below.
The meeting can be accessed via Zoom as well.
Design Concepts Engagement Materials
Thank you to everyone who provided input during our October engagement on bus design concepts for Duke Street!
In the Fall, the City hosted a variety of events and activities to share street design concepts for Duke Street and gather input on priorities and tradeoffs. This will be the second community input phase of Duke Street In Motion, following up on last summer’s community input on the overall vision and goals for the project. Community input in October will contribute to deciding which elements to advance into further design, analysis, and additional public input as we work to develop a final design recommendation for Duke Street In Motion.
See below for Fall 2022 engagement meeting materials:
- Recorded overview presentation
- Presentation PDF with transcript (español )
- Busway concept fact sheets and comparison tables:
- Vision and guiding principles
- Review FAQs
- Meeting Boards (Existing Conditions Bus, Existing Conditions Vehicle Travel, Comparison of Busway Alternatives - Safety, Comparison of Busway Alternatives - Travel Times)
- Segment 1 Presentation
- Segment 2 Presentation
- Segment 3 Presentation
- Additional background materials are available in the Documents section of this page
To learn more about all the ways the City is working to make Duke Street work better, please visit alexandriava.gov/transportation-planning/duke-street-projects.
Duke Street Transitway Advisory Group
On March 8, 2022, City Council approved the formation of the Duke Street Transitway Advisory Group to assist City staff in the development of transit improvements for the corridor. The meetings are open to the public. For Zoom access, please use this link to register prior to each Advisory Committee meeting.
- Advisory Group Mission and Members (Membership updated November 2022)
Advisory Group Meeting Materials
Advisory Group Meeting #9: March 16, 2023
Advisory Group Meeting #8: February 16, 2023
Advisory Group Meeting #7: December 15, 2022
Advisory Group Meeting #6: November 17, 2022
Advisory Group Meeting #5: September 15, 2022
- DRAFT AGENDA
- ADOPTED MEETING MINUTES
- ADVISORY GROUP MEETING #4 DRAFT MEETING MINUTES
- ADVANCE MATERIALS PACKET
- BUS STATION ITEMS STATUS
- CONCEPT FACT SHEETS
- COMPARISON MATRIX
- DATA PLAN
- VIRTUAL MEETING POLICY
Advisory Group Meeting #4: August 18, 2022
The next Advisory Group meeting will take place on August 18, 2022 at the DASH Facility at 3000 Business Center Drive from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Members of the public are welcome to attend either virtually or in person. To register for virtual access, use this link.
DRAFT AGENDA (REVISED 8-16-22)
ADVISORY GROUP MEETING #3 MINUTES (adopted)
Advisory Group Meeting #3: June 30, 2022
Advisory Group Meeting #2: June 1, 2022
Advisory Group Meeting #1: April 28, 2022
- DRAFT DUKE STREET TRANSITWAY PROJECT VISION AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- DUKE STREET TRANSITWAY ADVISORY GROUP MISSION AND CHARGE
- DUKE STREET PLANNING SEGMENTS
- ADVISORY GROUP MEETING #1 PRESENTATION
- ZOOM MEETING RECORDING (Note: Meeting starts at the 29-minute mark. There is a break between the 1:42 and 1:52 minute marks.)
The first phase of this effort – a community visioning – was launched in June 2021 with several outreach events and an online feedback form requesting public input. Response to the feedback form was outstanding, with over 1,800 responses both online and from in-person pop-up events. Read the results in the Phase 1 Visioning Community Feedback Results section below. The input from this phase informed the development of Vision and Guiding Principles adopted by the Duke Street in Motion Advisory Group.
The second phase – conceptual design for transit in the corridor – is currently underway and will includes multiple opportunities for public input.
The Duke Street corridor was first identified in the 2008 Transportation Master Plan and then reaffirmed in the 2012 Transit Corridors Feasibility Study and the 2021 Alexandria Mobility Plan as one of the City’s three high capacity transit corridors, along with the Metroway on Route 1 and the West End Transitway. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has awarded the City a total of $87 million dollars for the planning, design, and construction of a transitway along the Duke Street Corridor from Landmark Mall to King Street Metro Station.
Since the adoption of the 2012 Study, transportation priorities, land use plans, and (more recently) a major change in home-to-work travel patterns have created the need to re-evaluate the transit plans for the Duke Street Corridor. In 2021, the City undertook an extensive public outreach effort to inform the development of a vision and guiding principles for the development of a transit corridor on Duke Street. While transit improvements are the primary focus of this effort, other community priorities such as safety, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and vehicle travel are also important considerations for this project.
Staff briefed City Council on the project at their November 24, 2020 legislative meeting, that presentation can be viewed HERE. You can also view a presentation from the Duke Street In Motion June 2021 community webinar HERE.
Phase 1 Visioning Community Feedback Results (June 2021)
The City of Alexandria has compiled the results of more than 1,800 feedback form responses from both online and in-person pop-up events for the Duke Street In Motion project. Watch the video below for a brief overview of some of the findings from the community's input.
Community Input Summary: City has compiled the results of the feedback forms and provided a summary report of the findings of your input. If you are interested in seeing all the data submitted, the complete results are available in this sortable Excel file.
Phase 1 Outreach (June 2021)
- Webinar Recording
- Webinar Recording (Spanish)
- Pop Up Events Locations (June 21-28, 2021)
Thank you to all who participated in the first public participation phase to help create the community-developed vision for Duke Street In Motion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the City focusing on transit on Duke Street?
City Council has prioritized transit and transportation alternatives along the Duke Street corridor for more than ten years. In 2008, the Transportation Master Plan identified Duke Street as one of three priority transit corridors. In 2012, the City worked with the community to develop conceptual plans for the corridor. In 2018, the City received funding to advance the design, and in 2020, the project was fully funded.
Today, there is high-density residential throughout the corridor, and with more redevelopment, especially at the Landmark Mall site, there will be more people along Duke Street. Duke Street currently has the most ridership of any corridor in the City between the DASH Line 30 and Metrobus 28A and 29K/N. The DASH Line 30 is DASH's most productive route. Ridership along this corridor has exceed pre-COVID levels, consistent with other corridors with higher transit dependent populations who use the bus service all day and not just for commute trips. This project is an opportunity to improve the existing transit experience and encourage even more use of buses to get around.
Right now, the bus along the corridor isn't competitive with a vehicle in terms of speed. A more efficient, reliable and comfortable bus service – with safe, connections -- will make it a more attractive option. A well-designed roadway can make travel safer and more efficient for everyone, reduce congestion, and improve air quality. The City wants to keep Duke Street in Motion.
Will this project include improvements for people walking and riding bicycles?
Yes, where feasible. Since many people live, work, or visit locations within walking or biking distance to Duke Street, safe and convenient routes between bus stops and the places people need to go along the corridor will be essential elements of this project. The project team is looking at features that would make it safer, less stressful, and more accessible for both pedestrians and cyclists. If feasible, staff are looking at possibly implementing wider sidewalks, shared-use paths, or separated bike lanes.
How will this project affect drivers and traffic conditions on the corridor?
While transit is the key focus of this project, Duke Street is an important connection for people in cars. Community conversations have made it clear that traffic along this roadway and through the adjacent neighborhoods is a major concern that needs to be considered with any changes to the corridor. Any major roadway design changes will include an analysis that will evaluate the impacts to traffic in the area. The project team will be evaluating the impacts and will mitigate operational challenges where possible.
How will this project balance the needs of today with future conditions?
The City’s goal is to plan for the long-term sustainability of the Duke Street corridor while supporting travel needs in the shorter term. The project coordinates with current and planned development along the corridor, as well as projects happening around the region. This project is a significant investment for the City, and we want to ensure the BRT system of the future incorporates the latest technology and considers future uses along the corridor.
Will this project address cut-through traffic? What is the City doing to monitor cut-through traffic?
During community engagement as part of the Central Alexandria Traffic Study and the Alexandria Mobility Plan, it was clear that cut-through traffic is a major concern in this area. While this project will not directly address cut-through traffic, making transit a more attractive option has been shown to move some people to use it more frequently. However, the City has a number of projects and initiatives aimed at improving traffic flow and reducing cut-through traffic through the Smart Mobility program and capital projects such as Duke Street at West Taylor Run.
What happened to the planned road connections between Duke and Eisenhower?
Potential overpasses linking Duke Street to Eisenhower Avenue were discussed many years ago by city Staff and Council. City Council did not take action to move this concept forward due to the cost and various community and traffic concerns, and this connection is not in any current City plans.
Are there projections for future ridership and traffic volumes?
During the initial BRT planning study in 2012, ridership estimates after full build-out of the BRT ranged from 6,000-13,000 riders per day. However, these numbers could change due to shifts in travel patterns and based on the outcome of the Duke Street In Motion process. Ridership estimates will be recalculated during the Environmental Analysis, which will occur after a conceptual plan has been selected. The analysis will consider post-COVID travel pattern changes (long-and short-term), changes in land use (most notably the Landmark Mall site), and the types of BRT improvements included in the Duke Street and the West End Transitway designs.
Why were the project boundaries determined to be between Landmark Mall and the King Street Metrorail Station? Why doesn’t the route connect to areas west of I-395 or to Carlyle/Eisenhower/Fairfax County to the south?
Boundaries for this transit corridor were established by City Council in 2008 and were then updated in 2012. The Duke Street Transitway will connect to another forthcoming transitway (the West End Transitway) at Landmark Mall, which itself will be a major destination, and will also connect to the King Street Metrorail Station, which is currently a major destination for riders along Duke Street.
There is only a small portion of Duke Street west of I-395 that is in the City of Alexandria. Should Fairfax County develop a plan for a BRT corridor to the west, the City will work with them to provide connections that could create a more regional transit network.
What is being done to address the east-bound backups at West Taylor Run / Telegraph Road?
We recognize that this is a concern to many residents and others who travel through the Duke Street corridor. While this issue will not be addressed as part of this project, the City has been awarded $5.7M funds from Virginia’s Smart Scale Program contributing to the redesign and construction of the Duke Street and West Taylor Run Parkway intersection, as well as additional access to the Telegraph Road interchange. Community engagement for the Duke Street and West Taylor Run project will begin in fall 2021, and the Duke and West Taylor Run Parkway intersection efforts will be coordinated with this Duke Street transit project to ensure that bus stop placement is aligned.
What are the typical elements or goals of Bus Rapid Transit projects?
Bus Rapid Transit (or BRT) system aims to make bus transit more efficient, reliable, and comfortable by adding elements often seen in rail transit like MetroRail. In general, BRT is a flexible system of facilities, equipment, services, and amenities that improve the speed, reliability, and identity of the bus. Specific BRT system elements vary but may include characteristics such as:
- More frequent service
- Upgraded bus stops with enhanced passenger amenities, including level boarding that makes it easier and faster, especially for passengers with difficulties.
- Vehicles and stations branded for easy recognition by riders
- Transit signal priority enabling buses to stop less often at red lights. (You can see a video about this technology here.)
- Queue jump lanes to allow BRT vehicles to bypass traffic
- Part-time or full-time bus lanes with to provide a bus-only pathway that can function similar to a rail-way, with dedicated space
- Pre-paid boarding using all doors to reduce the time it takes for passengers to get on and off the bus
What are the potential outcomes of this project?
There are a few “givens” to this effort:
- The project area is defined as the Landmark Mall site to King Street Metrorail Station via Duke Street.
- Bus transit will be the primary component of the final concept.
- Bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular improvements will be included, where possible, and will follow other City priorities like Vision Zero and the Complete Streets Design Guidelines.
- The project will involve coordination with other ongoing initiatives and projects.
There are several pieces that are yet to be determined, including:
- The potential use of dedicated transit lanes
- Removal/retention of service roads
- Station locations and amenities
- The system operator (WMATA or DASH) for any new bus service
- The potential inclusion of bike facilities, trails, sidewalks, landscaping, stormwater, drainage, etc.
- And more!
How will these improvements be funded?
On July 9, 2020, the City of Alexandria was awarded $75 million in regional revenues from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) in the 2020-2025 Six Year Program. This funding will be used to help construct the first phase of improvements identified in the planning and public input phases of the project. Prior to July 2020, through NVTA’s inaugural 2018-2023 Six Year Program, the City received $12 million in regional revenues, utilized towards the design and engineering phases of the project.
What is being proposed?
In October 2022, the City presented several options for how buses can travel through the Duke Street corridor and asking for input on which to further refine and analyze. Generally, these are:
- Center Running (bus only lanes)
- Curb Running (bus and turn lanes)
- Mixed Traffic (with spot improvements)
- Center Bidirectional Bus Lane - A single center running bus lane that will allow for buses in both directions with spaces to allow oncoming buses to pass safely – this is only being considered for portions of Segment 2.
The final concept for the corridor could end up using different busway approaches in each segment, depending on what makes the most sense. There is no formal proposal at this stage. In the spring, the Project Team will go back to the community to get input on a preferred alternative.
What type of busway is best for transit users?
Center running bus-only lanes fully separate buses from traffic, providing the best improvement to speed and on-time performance. It also makes it easier and safer for car travelers because they will not be stuck waiting behind, weaving around, or turning right in front of buses.
The tradeoff is that these lanes require the most amount of space. They also can limit the ability to make left turns between signalized intersections. This is why we’re looking at other treatments in addition to the center running lanes, so we can understand the balance between trade-offs. Read the Fact Sheets to learn more about the benefits and tradeoffs of each busway option specific to each segment.
Will the busway design option impact space available for curb features?
For Segments 1 (Between West End Alexandria and Jordan Street) and Segment 3 (between Roth Street and Callahan Drive), the busway design will not impact what curb features can be used. However, for Segment 2 (between Jordan Street and Wheeler Avenue), which has more limited space, the amount of space available on the curb for other features depends on the concept selected.
Will the City need to acquire land or eliminate service roads for any of the options being presented?
For Segments 1 and 3, no property impacts are currently envisioned for any of the bus running way concepts. However, to maintain general traffic lanes and include improvements to walking, biking, and green space, service roads in front of business and multi-family residential areas may need to be modified or eliminated. The City is working to identify ways to minimize these impacts, like redesigning the street to accommodate access and parking where service road changes are being considered.
For Segment 2a (Between Jordan Street and Wheeler Avenue), the Center Running option would likely require impacts to service roads in front of homes and/or impacts to property.
The Hybrid option, which includes a mix of bi-directional bus lanes, center running lanes, and buses operating in mixed traffic, will only impact one service road on the north side of Duke Street between Ingle Place and N. Gordon Street. However, improvements to curb features may require modification of some additional service roads.
Is the City going to use eminent domain for this project?
The City commonly works with property owners on capital improvement projects (such as sewers and facilities) to acquire property rights, typically referred to as “right-of-way.” For the Duke Street in Motion project, it has not yet been determined if the City will need any easements or new public right-of-way. In design, the City performs detailed land survey and mitigates right-of-way needs to the greatest extent possible. Staff anticipates that any right-of-way needed for this phase of Duke Street in Motion would be acquired via voluntary agreements and not through use of eminent domain.
How will this project impact left turns into/out of my home?
Depending on the ultimate design selected and what you are located, left turns across Duke Street might be restricted. What this means is that there would likely be a dedicated U-turn at the intersections so rather than waiting for a gap in traffic to cut across two or three lanes, you would have a safer turn, but it might take an extra few minutes. Left turn crashes on Duke Street are one reason it is a high crash corridor in the City.
How are you dealing with situations when the roadway does not look like the typical cross section?
We understand that not all sections of Duke Street look the same – even within the segments we are showing. What we are showing are the most typical sections, and we know they don’t cover everything. The tradeoffs listed on the fact sheets (whether there are property, service impacts, or travel lane reductions) are based on high level sketches that cover the whole corridor. As we narrow down design options, and before a preferred option is selected, we will have to look at these areas in more detail to determine what the precise, location specific tradeoffs are. This is a reminder that one concept doesn’t have to, and likely will not, carry throughout the entire corridor.
What is existing bus ridership on the corridor?
Summer 2022 ridership along the corridor was about 2,700-3,000 average weekday boardings per day between the DASH 30 bus and the WMATA 29K/N and 28A routes, which is the City's highest ridership corridor and DASH's most productive route (most riders per bus). Average weekday activity (ons and offs) is about 5,600-5,700. Ridership has been increasing steadily and corridor ridership as of the Summer was greater than pre-COVID levels.
Metrobus ridership data shows that 36% of transit customers use the Duke Street corridor during mid-day period (9 AM to 4 PM) in comparison to 45% AM/PM peaks combined. The remaining 19% of trips take place during early AM, early evening, and night periods.
The Duke Street Transitway project will be closely coordinated with a number of other initiatives that are intended to more efficiently move people along Duke Street, improve mobility, and alleviate congestion.
- Duke Street is an important part of the Alexandria Transit Vision Plan 2030 network, providing connections to various parts of the city with frequent, all-day service.
- As part of the Smart Mobility Program, the City is currently installing additional Transit and Emergency Vehicle Signal Priority along Duke Street. If you’re interested, you can learn more about Transit Signal Priority here and watch a video about Intelligent Transportation Systems in general here.
- Duke Street was prioritized as one of the first two corridors in the City to receive signal upgrades through the Adaptive Traffic Signal Control project, which will allow the network of signals to better detect vehicles and automatically adjust their timing to improve traffic flow.
- The City was awarded funding to improve safety and traffic congestion at the high crash intersection of Duke Street and West Taylor Run Parkway.
- Because Duke Street was identified as a high crash corridor through the Vision Zero Action Plan, staff is also working to provide safety upgrades along the corridor.
- Transitway Corridor Feasibility Study (2012)
- Transitway Work Group Recommendation to Council (2012)
- City Council Presentation and Resolution on Preferred Alternative for Transitway Corridors (2012)
- Memo to Council on History of Corridors B (Duke Street) and C (West End Transitway) (2018)
- Transitway Corridor Feasibility Study Webpage
- Duke Street NVTA Application (2018)
- Duke Street NVTA Application (2020)
- November 24, 2020 City Council Presentation
- Vision and Guiding Principles for Duke Street in Motion (Adopted June 2022)
Jen Slesinger Monaco is the project manager for this effort and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To provide comments or questions throughout the process, we encourage you to use our feedback form.