Arlington County Board members have dispatched two of their own members in an effort to mediate concerns raised by a Crystal City-area neighborhood over cut-through traffic.
Residents of South Fern Street near 23rd Street South have seen their one-lane thoroughfare overtaken in recent months by drivers apparently directed by a mobile app to use it as a shortcut.
“We’ve seen hit-and run accidents, speeding, aggressive driving,” said Dana Bres, a resident of the neighborhood who complained about the situation at the Sept. 16 County Board meeting.
Perhaps just as frustrating, Bres said, was what neighbors view as a lack of engagement by county-government staff.
The staff “seems to listen politely and then do what they want,” he said. “It seems staff has decided to feign interest. We’ve made little progress.”
Staff retorted that they have spent significant time on the issue, but have other matters to deal with.
County Board members seemed to share concerns about a lack of progress, but suggested residents be patient.
“We want to do something that has . . . a degree of success,” board member Christian Dorsey said. “We just haven’t found it yet.”
Dorsey acknowledged residents were unhappy with the county’s responsiveness.
“The sense is we’re not listening,” he said. “This is something we are working on.”
Board members tasked John Vihstadt and Katie Cristol to serve as liaisons to the neighborhood on the issue.
Traffic apparently is being directed to the narrow road by the Waze mobile app, offering it as an alternative to U.S. Route 1 and South Eads Street.
Most local residents know it isn’t a good option, but those from out of town seem to follow the direction, County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said.
“There’s been an enormous amount of conversation” about the implications of such online navigational aids on local roads, Fisette said.