Accusing Alexandria of unneighborly relations, Fairfax County officials objected yesterday to the city's plan to impose car pool restrictions on a lane of Rte. 1 during rush hour.
Fairfax Supervisor T. Farrell Egge (R-Mount Vernon) told his Alexandria counterparts that the plan would discriminate against his constituents in southeastern Fairfax County, many of whom use Rte. 1 to commute to jobs in Crystal City, the Pentagon or Washington.
"There are three lanes right now, and they are packed," Egge said later. "What they've done is taken one of those lanes completely away from the commuters. The impact of that has got to be tremendous."
Rte. 1 carries 73,000 vehicles a day on the Alexandria portion and more than 80 percent of the vehicles that use the road during rush hours are estimated to be through traffic.
Fairfax and Alexandria officials debated the car pool lanes at their monthly breakfast meeting, an occasion that has become a lively forum for debate on transportation and development issues that affect the two jurisdictions.
At their meeting in February, for example, Egge caused a stir by suggesting that Alexandria consider rerouting Rte. 1 along the city's popular waterfront. The city is considering a tunnel, a $500 million project whose feasibility is under study.
At yesterday's meeting, Fairfax Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) objected to the city's plans to allow a 2.4 million-square-foot development on Eisenhower Avenue. He said that it would result in a hopeless bottleneck at the interchange of Van Dorn Street, which feeds Eisenhower Avenue, and the Capital Beltway, which rests just south of the Alexandria-Fairfax County border.
The harshest words were reserved for the proposed car pool restrictions, which would limit a lane of Rte. 1 through Old Town to cars with three or more occupants during rush hour.
To demonstrate the alleged ineffectiveness of car pool lanes, Egge showed a videotape he made during a recent rush hour of drivers flouting existing car pool restrictions on Washington Street through Alexandria. "Damn this traffic jam," sang James Taylor on the soundtrack.