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September 11, 2018

Town proposes alternative Broadview Ave. plan

Image/Kittleson & Associates
Under the town's plan, a striped buffer would separate bike lanes on each side of Broadview from adjoining vehicle lanes.
There are a lot of people . . . that take their lives in their hands trying to run across Broadview Avenue.
— Councilman Bob Kravetz (Ward 4)
Town Broadview Ave. Plan
Key elements would:

• Reduce Broadview’s speed limit from 40 to 35 mph.

• Create two extended median breaks to provide safer and greater access to businesses.

• Create, like VDOT’s plan, a dual-access lane off Broadview to serve westbound Route 211 traffic toward Culpeper. Today, a single lane serves that traffic.

• Install two crosswalks with traffic signals that would operate only when pedestrians activate them by pushing buttons.

• Provide a two-foot wide, striped buffer to separate proposed bike lanes on each side of Broadview from adjoining vehicle lanes.

• Retain left-turn access from West Shirley Avenue to the Wawa gas station and convenience store, just south of the Waterloo Street and Broadview intersection.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Warrenton’s town manager feels good about a staff plan to improve safety, business access and traffic flow along a nearly mile-long stretch of Broadview Avenue.

Brannon Godfrey, town Planning Director Brandie Schaeffer and Warrenton’s transportation consultant — Reston-based Kittleson & Associates — met Virginia Department of Transportation officials two weeks ago to discuss the concept.

Unveiled last Thursday at a town council work session, the plan differs from VDOT’s design in a few key ways.

The town concept attempts to strike a “balance” between safety and Broadview’s immediate and future economic interests, Ms. Schaeffer and Kittleson traffic engineer Chris Tiesler told the council.

The transportation agency’s “initial reaction to our proposed design was not only not negative,” Mr. Godfrey told the town council during the work session. “In fact, a member of their team stated that (no proposed changes to VDOT’s plan) jumped out at them that would significantly affect” the $8 million project’s status.

The state has allocated $7 million in federal funds for the project; the town has committed $1 million to it. 

Mr. Tiesler echoed the town manager’s take on the Aug. 30 meeting with VDOT officials.

“They were reticent to overreact or underreact,” said Mr. Tiesler, who helped prepare and present the plan to them. “But, I would say the tenor of the meeting was positive.”

Mr. Godfrey called the state agency’s response a “first, good step” toward achieving consensus over potential improvements to Broadview Avenue.

VDOT’s Warrenton resident engineer Mark Nesbit, who participated the Aug. 30 town staff presentation to his agency, didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.

Mr. Nesbit’s staff will complete an analysis of Warrenton plan's in about three weeks to determine whether it must go through a rigorous evaluation process, according to town officials.

Among other things, the town plan would:

• Reduce Broadview’s speed limit from 40 to 35 mph.

VDOT officials “didn’t have a lot of heartburn” over the proposed reduction, Mr. Tiesler told the council.

• Create two extended median breaks — one north of the Waterloo Street traffic signal measuring 650 feet and the other toward the southern end of Broadview measuring 450 feet — to provide greater access to businesses.

• Install a series of proposed center turn lanes on Broadview to ease traffic flow. Those lanes plus the road design also would allow emergency services and delivery trucks to more easily make U-turns, as needed.

Like VDOT’s concept, the town’s plan shows a dual-access lane off Broadview to serve westbound Route 211 traffic toward Culpeper.

Today, a single lane serves that traffic.

• Install two crosswalks with traffic signals — one between Gold Cup Road and Stuyvesant Street and the other at Chappel Street — that would operate only when pedestrians activate them by pushing buttons.

Otherwise, the lights would remain “dark” and traffic would flow without interruption.

Town Councilman Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) likes the idea.

“There are a lot of people . . . that take their lives in their hands trying to run across Broadview Avenue,” Mr. Kravetz said.

For now, Broadview’s traffic volumes and other factors don’t justify installation of a traditional signal at that intersection, according to VDOT.

• Provide a two-foot wide, striped buffer that would separate bike lanes on each side of Broadview from adjoining vehicle lanes.

VDOT’s plan includes bike lanes but no buffers.

• Retain left-turn access from West Shirley Avenue to the Wawa gas station and convenience store, just south of the Waterloo Street and Broadview intersection.

VDOT’s plan would eliminate that access, forcing northbound Shirley Avenue Wawa customers to make U-turns at the intersection’s traffic light to get to the business.

No Broadview businesses or property owners attended the council’s Sept. 6 work session.

In an interview Friday, Mr. Godfrey said he believed it unnecessary to notify them of last Thursday’s meeting because the town website includes the work session agenda, which contains the concept, related documents and a video of the meeting.

The website also has a robust page dedicated to the project.

Had he known about the work session, Oak View National Bank CEO Mike Ewing said “we probably would have gone.”

But “we’ve gone to a lot of meetings” about the project, added Mr. Ewing, whose bank has offices on Broadview Avenue and in Marshall and Culpeper. “I do not fault (town staff). I think they’ve been very good to keep us together and informed as a group.

“I think they’re trying to come up with the best possible solution for all.”

Foster's Grille President Mike Cerny believes that the town should notify businesses of any public meeting associated with the project.

“There should have been a process in place” to inform Broadview merchants of the work session. “Somebody should have been pushing it out to all the businesses.”

Because of the sensitive nature of the project and related “missteps and mistakes,” Mr. Cerny thinks the town should keep merchants informed with as much notice as possible through emails, phone calls and even visits.

There will be plenty of opportunity “going forward” for comment on the project, Mr. Godfrey said.

At the end of Thursday’s work session, Councilman Sean Polster (At-large) urged Mr. Godfrey to keep Broadview merchants up to speed on the project.

On Friday morning, the town manager emailed Broadview business people and property owners information related to the project and directed them to a video of meeting.

VDOT in November plans to conduct an open-house style public meeting that he hopes also will attract area residents, who so far haven’t commented on the project Mr. Godfrey said.

And, it expects to conduct a public hearing next spring, he told the council.
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brandonj · September 12, 2018 at 3:25 pm
@JOHN REEVES
I'm sure residents along broadview said the same thing when the road was widened to accommodate the automobile. The reality is that suburbia (and widespread automobile use) will be in decline in the coming decades as we exhaust our supply of petroleum. Bike access is a great idea if they're already making safety accommodations.
JOHN REEVES · September 12, 2018 at 10:29 am
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WAY IT'S BEEN FOR YEARS. THIS IS NOT GOING TO
ACCOMPLISH A THING, BUT ADD MORE MAINTENANCE COSTS. NOT REALLY SURE WHO'S
GREAT IDEA IT IS TO PUT BICYCLES ON THE BYPASS, NOT. THIS IS BEYOND RIDICULOUS AND NEEDS TO SCRAPED.
BikerFriendlyGal · September 12, 2018 at 9:33 am
Good point! Citizens may as well start making their suggestions now cause by the time the "open house" comes around the project details between the town and businesses will have been finalized.
Logandylan1 · September 12, 2018 at 7:36 am
I would hope that this plan, along with the others, would provide for new driveway aprons that would allow drivers unfettered access. Just about every driveway I’ve driven up on Broadview causes concern that a fairing will be torn off.
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