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Alexandria Debates Widening Road Near Mark Center

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In 2008, the Department of Defense chose to move 6,400 employees from other locations to Mark Center.
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In 2008, the Department of Defense chose to move 6,400 employees from other locations to Mark Center.

If you build it, they will drive. That's the concern of West End residents who are opposing a plan to widen Beauregard Street.

"You keep building lanes, they're all going to be full," says Lynn Bostian, a nearby resident in the Seminary West neighborhood.

"If they're really trying to reduce SOVs -- single occupancy vehicles -- there's only one way to do it: You have to take the lanes away and make people go to another alternative form of transportation."

Alexandria Vice Mayor Kerry Donley says that would be a recipe for disaster.

"If you don't widen the road, and reduce it to one lane north, one lane south, you'll create absolute gridlock," says Donley. "I mean, that's not going to be sufficient to handle the density that's there today."

Bostain isn't buying it. She says there's going to be gridlock anyway because there was wasn't a transportation plan before BRAC.

BRAC is the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which recommended moving thousands of employees out of rented space in Crystal City. In 2008, the Department of Defense chose to move them to Mark Center, which is located on Beauregard.

Cameron Station resident Dak Hardwick says some people will drive even if mass transit is available.

"The key there is that if you add an additional lane for a transit vehicle, what you will give them is an option to not take that single-occupancy vehicle," says Hardwick.

But West End resident Carol James is opposed to widening the road.

"It seems to me counterintuitive that they're talking about reducing single-occupancy vehicle dependence, yet they are increasing the amount of space available for single-occupancy vehicles," James says.

Alexandria City Council members are not expected to make a decision until later this year, when the first wave of employees starts showing up at the new Department of Defense building.

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