A controversial traffic diverter at Dinwiddie Street and Chesterfield Road in South Arlington will be taken down.
The County Board voted Saturday to have the road barrier dismantled after it received dozens of protests about it.
The diverter was installed because some residents of the Claremont neighborhood said Dinwiddie Street had too much traffic and was being used by commuters as a shortcut around parts of congested Rte. 7.
But other residents complained that the diverter caused motorists to use their streets as a shortcut. Others, particularly residents of areas bordering the Claremont neighborhood, said that as taxpayers they should have access to all roads.
The board's decision does not solve the traffic problem facing the Claremont neighborhood. It is generally agreed that development along Rte. 7, which runs through Alexandria and Fairfax County, has caused a great increase in traffic.
But the Claremont neighborhood, frustrated and divided on how to approach the traffic problem, asked the County Board for help on Saturday.
"Define the character of the street," said Roy Markon, a Claremont resident who opposed the diverter. "Once you define the character of the street, you can get something done." If the county defined the street as a main thoroughfare, it would be treated differently from a neighborhood street.
"We want an indication from you whether we as a neighborhood have the right to control traffic on our streets or whether we have to involve other neighborhoods," said Nancy Jennings, who lives on Dinwiddie Street and had fought to have the road barrier installed.
But the board did not respond to their requests. Instead, it voted to establish a commission to study the traffic management process. Also, it instructed the county staff to continue discussions with Claremont residents on other possible solutions to the traffic problem.
Board Chairman Albert C. Eisenberg said he plans to arrange a meeting with Alexandria Mayor James P. Moran Jr. and Fairfax County Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III to discuss the traffic problems on Rte. 7.
This is not the only diverter controversy the board faces. About 100 residents have signed a petition asking that diverters closing off North 30th Street and North Edison Street be removed.
Some residents, citing safety concerns, asked for the diverters because North Edison Street was being used by commuters to get between Yorktown Boulevard and Little Falls Road.
North Edison Street parallels what would have been one section of North George Mason Drive, a major county arterial street. But this segment of George Mason Drive was never completed. The gap was created about a decade ago when neighborhood residents asked the county board not to complete the road. The land intended to finish North George Mason Drive has since been declared park land.