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March 15, 2017

Roundabout at Walmart approved for construction

The planned roundabout would include a “bypass lane” for southbound vehicles turning into Walmart.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The town council Tuesday night approved construction of Warrenton’s first traffic circle or “roundabout” on a major street.

The “mini roundabout” in front of Walmart — at East Shirley Avenue and Falmouth Street — will have a diameter of 75 feet and include a “bypass” lane for southbound vehicles turning right into the store.

After a public hearing that drew no citizen speaker, the town council voted, 5-0, to approve the project.

The roundabout would improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, Town Manager Brannon Godfrey said at last month’s meeting.

VDOT Regional Traffic Engineer Nathan Umberger said the roundabout would “move traffic more efficiently at slower speeds.”

Mr. Umberger confirmed the traffic circle would fit within the existing right-of-way, requiring no intersection expansion.

VDOT estimates the roundabout would cost $434,000, about the same as installing traffic signals.

VDOT will provide $217,000 for the project. Walmart “proffered” $180,000 for intersection improvements when it expanded the store about three years ago.

Warrenton already has budgeted the remaining $37,000 in its fiscal 2017 capital projects fund.

VDOT and the town will finalize designs, and construction could start as early as this year.

In other matters Tuesday night, town council:

• Voted, 5-0, to allow town staff to create a plat and identify boundary lines for the possible division of the Brentmoor and visitor center property. The council in April will continue to discuss what to do with the Italianate home that formerly housed the Mosby Museum.

• Voted, 5-0, to approve a text amendment to the town’s leash law. The updated ordinance requires citizens to keep dogs on leashes in the town, except on the owner or caretaker’s property.

• Voted, 5-0, to appropriate up to $40,000 from the town’s fiscal 2017 general fund budget for the dog park. Along with a $30,000 cash proffer from the Alwington Farms developer, that brings the dog park construction budget to $70,000. The park will lie at the end of South Fifth Street, along the Warrenton Branch Greenway.

• Agreed to have its Finance Committee make a recommendation on a potential donation of up to $1 million toward construction of a new county library on Waterloo Street. The committee will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, March 20.

• Unanimously approved closing parts of Main, Ashby, Court and Culpeper streets for First Friday events from May to October.

• Unanimously approved closing Main Street and municipal parking Lot F (at South Fifth and East Lee streets) for the May Day Festival on Saturday, April 29.
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RMd. · March 21, 2017 at 11:05 am
Whose "brilliant" idea was this anyway? I sure hope it proves a CLM (career limiting move) for them.
BJ · March 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm
It takes knowledge of the law and common courtesy to make a roundabout as well as a 4-way stop work. Common courtesy and paying attention have gone out the window with the advent of the cell phone.
citizen observer · March 17, 2017 at 9:55 am
I had to go up Rt. 15 to Leesburg one morning recently. I went thru the roundabouts at Gilberts Corner I think it's called.
Was no traffic problems on RT.15, but when I looked up Rt. 50 the eastbound traffic was backed up as far as I could see waiting to get into the circle.
Not sure if this is usual or not but didn't seem any better than a traffic light for the east bounders. It may be a design problem.
citizen observer · March 17, 2017 at 9:45 am
Just the other day I had a lady turn left onto Waterloo from Broadview while I sat at the light. She had her phone in her left hand up to her ear, and a cup of coffee or something in her right hand on the steering wheel. She barely could made the turn and was obviously oblivious to anything except her phone conversation.
Can't wait to see her in a roundabout! People need to hang up and drive.
Rover 530 · March 16, 2017 at 7:48 pm
I've done research and also have experienced roundabouts, traffic circles and rotaries in several states over many years of driving. I've seen at least one place in Virginia where roundabouts were replaced by signaled intersections after decades of use. Although roundabouts reduce the amount of drivers and passengers suffering serious or fatal injuries than signaled or non-signaled intersections, the amount of accidents that happen increases due to drivers failing to yield to traffic already in the circle. The speed limit is also a factor. Speeds over 25 MPH before entering the circle will generally result in an increase of collisions. If people can control their speed, show courtesy to other vehicles and obey the rules, the roundabouts will work. If human nature predominates, the body shops (not the hospital) will have a booming business.
Savethehyenas · March 16, 2017 at 11:25 am
And remove the unnecessary 4 way stop sign on walker drive
dannyboy1 · March 16, 2017 at 11:21 am
While addressing traffic concerns in this area I think the police need to set up at the intersection of Industrial Rd (the road that serves many businesses across from Wal Mart) and business 29/17/15. EVERY time I leave either Wal Mart, Brumfield Elementary, or Home Depot I see vehicles turning off of Alwington Blvd. into the right lane on business 29/17/15 and they ride it all the way to Falmouth St where they either turn right or cut off traffic on 29/17/15 to continue towards town. The problem is that those abiding the traffic laws who intend to turn onto Falmouth will deal with vehicles in their blind spot because they don't move over to the right lane until after the industrial rd. intersection. This is where the decal lane opens for traffic turning onto Falmouth. There is a sign loud and clear that states right turn only prior to industrial rd. I've gotten used to it but almost was in a few accidents before I just started to expect it. The bad thing is I got flipped off by those doing the wrong thing! Not sure how many accidents have occurred there but this should be observed by local law enforcement and either warn or cite drivers violating this simple but potentially dangerous intersection.
rally39 · March 16, 2017 at 11:16 am
Rover 530. Educate yourself
Most significantly, roundabouts REDUCE the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections, per the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual.
Rover 530 · March 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm
Luckily the State Police office is very close and the troopers can walk to the roundabout to investigate the accidents.
citizen observer · March 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm
Roundabouts can be very functional; if designed correctly and drivers put down their phones and pay attention.

Unfortunately, I was behind someone on their phone at one of the Town's 4-way stops the other day. Totally oblivious to what was happening. On a roundabout they most likely would have been the cause of an accident.
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