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February 26, 2018

Dropping Broadview plan would cost town $1 million

File Photo/Aerotog
The plan includes a series of medians along Broadview and improvements to the Route 211 intersection.
It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money to give that back and not get anything for it.
— Town Councilman Sean Polster (At-large)
Broadview Ave. Project
• Concept includes: Nine median breaks between Route 211 and Roebling Street, 3 pedestrian crosswalks, 6-foot-wide shoulder bike lane on each side, replacement of parallel turn lanes in middle with alternating turn lanes and improvements to Route 211 intersection.

• Why: To improve safety and traffic flow.

• Where: About 1 mile between Route 211 and Roebling Street (at McDonald’s).

• Estimated cost: $8 million.

• Funding: State has allocated $7 million in federal funds; Town of Warrenton would pay the balance. 

• More information: Click here

• Next: Broadview Avenue project meeting, 10 a.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Warrenton Police Department building, 333 Carriage House Lane.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Pulling the plug on proposed improvements to Broadview Avenue in Warrenton would cost the town almost $1 million.

As of late February, the town had incurred $959,845 in design expenses related to the plan, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

If the town council abandons it, Warrenton would be required to reimburse that amount to VDOT.

But that won’t happen — at least for now — because the council remains committed to a plan to improve safety and traffic flow along the busy strip.

The reimbursement issue emerged during a Dec. 12 update to Broadview Avenue merchants and property owners on the $8 million project.

Proposed changes include a series of medians, allowing controlled U-turns between Roebling and Frost avenues, and bike lanes at the commercial strip’s outside edges. The medians would prohibit left turns for vehicles exiting businesses.

Business owners at the December meeting wanted to know how much it would cost Warrenton to walk away from the project. State and town officials didn’t know the answer then or at a subsequent meeting in January. Town Manager Brandon Godfrey provided the total in a Feb. 23 memo to the council.

> Memo at bottom of story

Business and property owners worry that proposed improvements to Broadview would make customer access more difficult and thus hurt their bottom line.

Councilmen Sean Polster (At-large) and Jerry Wood (Ward 1) have no interest in reimbursing VDOT for deign fees.

“It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money to give that back and not get anything for it,” said Mr. Polster, who believes a plan can be developed to meet the needs of Broadview businesses and others.

“No way,” Mr. Wood said of reimbursing VDOT. “How long have we been working on this? Fifteen years? We finally get that money from VDOT and all of sudden” objections to the proposal jeopardize the project’s future.

Federal money would cover $7 million of the project’s cost; the town has committed $1 million to it. 

“Are we going to give back all of that?” Mr. Wood said.

For now, Councilman Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) considers reimbursement beside the point.

Before taking up that matter, Mr. Kravetz wants to know the potential effects a final proposal might have on Broadview businesses and property owners.

“That’s the threshold issue,” he said. “You don’t even get to (the reimbursement) issue until you resolve that.

“I’m not in favor of doing the project, if it has a negative impact on the business and property owners on Broadview Avenue.”

But, the councilman would like to believe that VDOT’s plan ultimately will satisfy them.

“I would hate to have to give VDOT back that kind of money,” Councilman Kravetz said. “I’m hopeful we’ll never get to that.”

The transportation agency, consultants and town officials will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Warrenton Police Department to further discuss the plan.

The Broadview plan entails two projects:

• Medians between Winchester Street and the Waterloo Street and Frost Avenue intersection.

• Improvements to the Waterloo Street and Frost Avenue intersection.

Like others, Councilman Kravetz believes fixing the intersection alone might adequately address traffic flow and safety concerns.

Councilman Polster stressed that the Broadview plan continues to evolve.

When VDOT initially conceived the plan, it focused on traffic safety, Mr. Polster said.

“It didn’t take into account the small businesses on Broadview,” he explained. “And we haven’t heard from the residents.”

Many also doubt whether controlled U-turns could accommodate large vehicles, including tractor-trailers making deliveries and fire trucks.

“That’s one of the questions we have,” Mr. Polster said.

He believes that VODT’s planned citizen information meeting and May public hearing on the project will help officials learn about other concerns that will lead to better plan.

For a plan to succeed, Broadview businesses and property owners need to make concessions, Mr. Wood said.

“I hate to be negative, but the business people have got to compromise to get it done.”

During a Jan. 25 Broadview meeting, town officials also cited liability reasons for proceeding with the project.

Abandoning it could put the municipality at greater risk of getting sued over traffic accidents, Planning Director Brandie Schaeffer told the group.

Town Attorney Whit Robinson, who provided that advice, later declined to discuss traffic-accident liability issues specific to the Broadview project.

But, “in general, if a locality knows that it has a higher-than-normal risk for public safety, and it has the means to try to mitigate that risk for liability reasons, it would be in the locality’s interest to do so,” Mr. Robinson explained in an interview.

Broadview Avenue Design Costs 2 23 2018 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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BikerFriendlyGal · March 1, 2018 at 1:14 pm
"Originally, Timber Fence Parkway had been slated as a bypass, but adjacent sub developments were allowed to tie into it,
thereby reducing its effectiveness as a thoroughfare.
The County is considering building a connector road that will service local traffic throughout the sub developments. It is not planned to facilitate regional travel between Route 211 and Route 17.
That traffic will be directed to Broadview Avenue once it is redeveloped for through-traffic."
Source: Piedmont Environmental Council
R-RRC 15 July 2005
Tell It Like It Is · March 1, 2018 at 12:45 pm
Timberfence Parkway .... YES!
Lower the speddlimit on the bypass .... YES!

Spending $$millions and in end have less access to businesses, still only two lanes in each direction and thus NO improvement to handle more traffic volume, knowing all the while that a western bypass must be constructed at some point so we are going to wait another 10-20 years thus costing the taxpayers $$$ millions more for the construction in addition to doing this entire process all over again?

Hey didn't your mother's tell you, "Things done right, don't have to be re-done."

"Stupid is as stupid does."

JFC people are we stupid or what?
BikerFriendlyGal · February 28, 2018 at 2:04 pm
I am a resident of Warrenton, patronize businesses along Broadview Avenue and I am often one of the “through” travelers, 65% or more along with me according to the Broadview Avenue Access Management Study, that frequently uses this thoroughfare.

I will continue to travel along Broadview Avenue and use these businesses regardless of what type of ingress, egress or access point is necessary, well, because I like their business, their food, the great people employed there and the excellent work and services they provide.

It has been somewhat disturbing to see the attention and time given to the businesses without even an small interspersed opportunity for the tax paying residents to get a word or two in….a word or two that we have all been told is coming in the future. By that time, are we giving our elected officials our opinion or trying to change their minds? (“ I’m not in favor of doing the project if it has a negative impact on the business and property owners on Broadview Avenue.”) How would you know that before the project is built?? How could we convince you otherwise?

Broadview Avenue is more than just the section between Rt. 211 and Rt. 17 and businesses outside that area deserve consideration also as also they rely on the safe passage of their customers to get to them too, not just you. I’m sure other businesses outside the project area are doing just well without their own dedicated entrance and a parking spot 20 feet from curb.

I’m with Councilman Wood on this one: “For the plan to succeed, Broadview businesses have got to compromise to get it done.” Asking how much the Town would have to repay the state to tank the project or building a bypass instead is not moving in that direction. Here’s to Mr. Del Rosso’s next article showing that compromise.
Jim Griffin · February 28, 2018 at 8:40 am
Ron: Not my paper, and the Cronkite model -- the 5 W's -- has been the answer to the Pravda model for quite a while.

Indeed, for a long time commentators have asked for neutral news -- alongside commentary. That's what we get here. No commentary in the news but plenty of commentary with it in the form of opinion pieces and comments to articles.

Fortunately, with on-line we can all have our way. Plenty of room for those who disagree to publish whatever they prefer. It was once true that the power of the press was reserved for those who own one. No more.
Jim Griffin · February 27, 2018 at 11:44 am
Ron: No, I'm not saying that whatever the govt says is a fact, but it is a fact that they said it, and I want to hear what was said at the meeting without opinion and commentary intermixed, just as Don presented it here.

Perhaps you want an opinionated commentary, even one slanted against the POV presented at the meeting. That is fine! Simply write it up and submit it. I'm interested in that, too, but first I want to hear what I would've heard had I attended the meeting myself.
Jim Griffin · February 27, 2018 at 10:43 am
When a reporter covers a meeting, as Don Del Rosso does well here, they should relate the facts behind the meeting, the who, what, where, when, why and how of the event. The facts. It is often a challenge simply to get this well-written for the next day.

As regards community opinion, Fauquier Now is an open book with full access to its front page for anyone who wishes to express their opinion with words, graphics, links and so on. I've not heard of Fauquier Now rejecting any community opinions submitted and they run along the right-hand side of the front page in chronological order.

In addition, the comment section is available and in active use.

There are sometimes follow-up analysis pieces written, clearly marked as opinion or analysis, which ought not get mixed into a news article unless you are trying to advance a POV as does, say, talk radio or some opinionated web sites.

We get good value from a competition between news outlets. Fauquier Now is especially open for the community's use. I cherish these many voices and their accessibility to everyone who wishes to read and comment.
BJ · February 27, 2018 at 9:51 am
Money should have been spent on creating a bypass along the Timber Fence Parkway to move traffic away from Broadview Avenue.
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