Seminary Road Complete Streets Project

Seminary Road is a key corridor in the City of Alexandria’s transportation network, and was repaved in Fall of 2019. According to the Complete Streets Policy, T&ES Staff is encouraged to use repaving as an opportunity to consider and incorporate changes to enhance the safety and convenience of all users. In September 2019, City Council voted to reorganize the roadway to include one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, new crossings, and bicycle lanes.

Page updated on Sep 23, 2020 at 4:38 PM

What's New

Grant-funded Sidewalk Update

Staff has been informed by the Virginia Department of Transportation the City was not awarded funding through the VDOT Transportation Alternatives Program for a sidewalk on Seminary Road. As a reminder, a future, new sidewalk is included in design alternative 3 for Seminary Road which was approved by City Council in September 2019. The City’s current budget does not include funding for a new sidewalk, which staff estimates would cost approximately $1 million because the site challenges that will make design and construction more complex than a typical sidewalk project. 

The current design on the road includes an interim in-street shared pedestrian and bicycle path on the north (westbound) side of Seminary Road located between Zabriskie Drive and Beth El Hebrew Congregation. Given the grant was not awarded, the interim shared facility will remain on Seminary Road for the foreseeable future. The sidewalk gap on Seminary Road remains identified as one of the City’s top 10 priority sidewalk projects, eligible for future grant applications and will continue to be weighed against other city priorities as we evaluate future funding opportunities.

Final Design

The final markings from the Design Plans have been completed. The City’s priority right now is providing essential services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as keeping our existing programs running.

Seminary Before and After


Seminary Road Project


The Seminary Road Complete Streets project has worked with the community and stakeholders to determine roadway improvements for Seminary Road, from Quaker Lane to Kenmore Avenue, and at North Howard Street, where staff was awarded grant funding to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility. At the March 25, 2019 meeting, Staff showed that the project area was reduced to N Howard Street to N Quaker Lane.

Seminary Study Area - revised

Background

Seminary Road was identified in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Chapter of the Transportation Master Plan for potential improvements to ensure the safety, mobility, and accessibility for all roadway users. Data analysis conducted through the Vision Zero Action Plan also showed that Seminary Road was a corridor with a high number of KSI (killed or seriously injured) crashes.

Since the reduction of the speed limit on Seminary (from Quaker to Library Lanes) in 2016, data has shown that safety has improved. However, to sustain this benefit, the roadway design must reflect the posted speed limit as well as encourage and better accommodate people walking, biking, driving, and riding transit. 

Project Goals and Objectives

The goals of the Seminary Road Complete Streets project are to: 

  • Improve safety and accessibility for all users
  • Improve facilities for people who walk, bike, ride transit or drive cars
  • Implement previously adopted plans, policies, and study recommendations

Objectives

  • Eliminate serious injuries and fatalities on the corridor
  • Improve safety and accessibility for all roadway users by upgrading curb ramps and sidewalks
  • Provide continuous, safe, and comfortable places for people to walk
  • Introduce safer pedestrian crossings for residents, transit users, and all others walking the corridor
  • Where excess roadway capacity exists, identify ways to meet the goals set forth in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, Vision Zero Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Environmental Action Plan, and the Central Alexandria Traffic Study
  • Serve vehicle traffic with a roadway design that minimizes delay at intersections, and encourages speed limit compliance.


SCHEDULE AND PROCESS

The project has followed the process below:

Phase 1: Information gathering and data analysis (Spring and Summer 2018)

City staff gathered feedback from the community regarding their concerns with Seminary Road through: 

  • Complete Streets Repaving Feedback -- Click here
  • Community Walkabout -- Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 12 p.m. (noon). Separate groups will meet at Seminary and N. Jordan, and at Seminary and N. Quaker. The two groups will walk along Seminary Road, stopping at intersections along the way, and meeting at St Stephens Road at approximately 12:45 p.m. 
  • Community open house meeting -- Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 5:30 - 7:30pm, Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road.  Brief presentation at 6 p.m. followed by a 15-minute question and answer session. Posters that were displayed at this meeting are posted here (7MB pdf)

Phase 1 Comment Summary: 


Phase 2: CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ON ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS (SUmmer 2018 - Spring 2019)

The Seminary Road project was postponed last fall due to an announcement from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) regarding potential operational changes to the existing I-395 high-occupancy vehicle-only (HOV) exit ramp to Seminary Road. However, due to the poor pavement condition on Seminary Road, the project can no longer be delayed—Seminary Road is scheduled to be repaved in September 2019. While significant traffic impacts are not expected from operational changes to the exit ramp, staff will move forward with the primary goal of making improvements to Seminary Road between N. Quaker Lane and N. Howard St.

Three alternative options were developed after reviewing public comments and concerns from previous engagement efforts as well as those that have been a part of this project process. The public meeting on Phase 2 of the project was held on Monday, March 25, 2019. The three alternatives, as well as supporting background information, can be viewed below. 

Listen to a narrated presentation on the project and design alternatives please CLICK HERE 
The file will download and you can listen to the recording by opening the PowerPoint file, going to the slideshow tab, and selecting "start from beginning" or pressing the F5 key on your keyboard.  

For Frequently Asked Questions on this project and proposed design alternatives please CLICK HERE

Background Information: 

Summary sheets for concept alternatives

Alternative 3 proposes what is known as a Road Diet. Some benefits of a road diet are described in this Federal Highway Administration video

Multi-lane roads put crossing pedestrians at risk for an often-severe type of crash known as the Multiple Threat. This Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center video shows the causes of this crash risk. 

The survey for this phase of the project is now closed. 

Phase 2 Comment Summary

The public comment summary is available here with all comments noted in the Appendices. 

Comment Summary Document


Phase 3: Staff Recommendation (Spring/Summer 2019)

After reviewing public input as well as considering technical analysis and consistency with Council-approved priorities, staff developed a recommended design alternative for Seminary Road between Howard Street and Quaker Lane. Staff Recommendation is a hybrid of Alternatives 1 and 2 with modifications. 

Review the meeting presentation here.

Review the Staff Recommended Alternative Boards here:

The live stream of the meeting is available here: https://www.facebook.com/AlexandriaVATES/ 

Phase 3 Comment Summary

The comment form is now closed for this phase of the project. A comment summary has been prepared and is available below:
Comment Summary of Staff Recommendation


Phase 4:Project Approvals (Summer and Fall 2019)

Traffic and Parking Board 

Staff presented the staff recommendation for the project to the Traffic and Parking Board on June 24, 2019. The Traffic and Parking Board's recommendation to the T&ES Director was to maintain four vehicle travel lanes (two in each direction) and establish two HAWK (Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon) Crossings. One at Gaillard/Chapel Hill Bus Stop pair and another to be determined between St. Stephen's Road and Ft. Williams Parkway. 

The Director has waived the appeals process and the Traffic and Parking Board's recommendation will be presented directly to City Council in September.  


City Council Decision

On Saturday September 14, 2019, staff presented the project and Traffic and Parking Board's recommendation to City Council. In a 4-3 vote, City Council adopted Alternative 3 for the design of Seminary Road between N. Howard Street and N. Quaker Lane. Watch the Video here or listen to the Audio here

Staff worked on the design with an inter-agency group that included the Fire Department, the following design features were implemented:

  • Vehicle Travel Lanes: One through-lane in each direction (eastbound and westbound) and a center left turn lane that allows left-turning traffic to wait outside of the travel lane to make their turn. This is shown in the Concept plan for Alternative 3
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities: Bicycle lanes were installed with the remaining roadway width. In the portion without a sidewalk today, an in-street, shared, protected, bicycle and pedestrian space was implemented to connect the sidewalk portions that are existing.
  • New Crossings: Median islands with flashing beacons were installed in four new locations, Chapel Hill Drive, Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Ft. Williams Parkway, and near the Seminary Road entrance of Virginia Theological Seminary.

Paving is was scheduled for October 2019 and additional flyers were sent to residents a week before paving began as is typical with other paving projects. 

Phase 5: Design, Repaving, and Implementation (Fall and Winter 2019)

On October 14, the City of Alexandria, through its Public Works Services Division, will begin milling and resurfacing Seminary Road from North Quaker Lane to Library Lane. The Seminary repaving work will implement design changes to Seminary Road that were approved by City Council in September 2019. City to Begin Resurfacing of Seminary Road

The design is shown as concept plans and final design plans here

As of December 2019, the Seminary Road project was considered substantially complete. Staff sincerely appreciates the community’s patience as the project was completed.

CITY COUNCIL UPDATE - February 2020

Staff provided an update to City Council on February 11, 2020.  On February 11, 2020 staff from the Department of Transportation & Environmental Services, the Police Department and the Fire Department provided an update to City Council and answered questions asked by Council.   The Council presentation can be viewed here.   Key highlights include an overview of preliminary travel times which showed that across the day, travel times were relatively consistent in the before and after periods but that during the peak half hours of the morning and evening, travel times have increased by approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds, respectively.  The presentation outlined the project costs, crashes, and the timeline for full evaluation.  Staff answered question regarding emergency vehicle access and the crash history along the corridor.  

Project Contact Information:

Staff will keep the project website up to date with information, where possible, and will continue to keep the community updated through social media.    
Contact the T&ES Project Manager: christine.mayeur@alexandriava.gov

Top