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After picking up Wash-

ington City Paper on Thursday, I was delighted to see an article on Route 1 (“Lost Highway,” 9/27)…until I started reading. I have lived in the Mount Vernon area almost my whole life (20 years). I was offended by some of the early comments by the author referring to that stretch of road as a “rundown gantlet of dying strip malls, thrift stores, pawn shops,” etc., “none of them prospering.” What is your definition of prosperity? Not everyone can be a Microsoft or a Citibank. I know of several businesses that are prospering and doing a very good job of it. I used to live in the Audobon trailer park behind the multiplex and have seen the transformation of the Route 1 corridor. While there are still dumps and dives along the road (what road doesn’t have those?) it is much better than it used to be 10 years ago. The addition of new town homes, reconstructed “dying” strip malls, and an overall nicer look have made a large difference in how locals see the highway. It is no longer the ghetto area that it might have once been and is so depicted by the writer.

Also, I take offense to the stereotype of the people living on the Potomac River. My current residence is in one of those neighborhoods and neither I nor my family “hide behind fences built of money…shun[ning] U.S. 1 like a dirty panhandler,” nor do our neighbors of the middle-class neighborhood off Fort Hunt Road. This comment/insult is utterly untrue, as everybody patronizes shops and services available up and down Route 1. In actuality we have nowhere else to do so. Route 1 truly is the lifeblood of the whole region and it’s sick to read about someone trashing it. Next time, maybe you should pick someone a little less biased to write an article about Richmond Highway.

As for the experiences listed in the story, was it so impossible to not pick the dumpiest hangouts, the most pathetic people on the road to interview, and the worst motels to stay at? Why no mention of the Red Roof Inn or the Days Inn? I know—because it would have thrown off the bias in this article.


Alexandria, Va.

via the Internet