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February 10, 2017

Walmart area roundabout headed to public hearing

The roundabout would include a separate, right-turn lane for southbound traffic to enter Walmart.
I just want to make sure we are covering ourselves down the road . . . . I want to make sure we do it right and have it big enough.
— Councilwoman “Sunny” Reynolds
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Staff Journalist
Warrenton’s town council next month will conduct a public hearing on the proposed traffic roundabout at East Shirley Avenue and Falmouth Street in front of Walmart.

The “mini roundabout,” with a diameter of 75 feet, would “fit within the right-of-way,” requiring no intersection expansion, Virginia Department of Transportation Regional Traffic Engineer Nathan Umberger told the council last month.

Town Manager Brannon Godfrey recommended building a traffic circle — or “roundabout” — with a bypass lane for southbound vehicles turning right into Walmart. That would improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, Mr. Godfrey suggested.

“I just want to make sure we are covering ourselves down the road” with future development coming into that area, Sunny Reynolds (At-large) said Thursday night during the council’s monthly work session. “I want to make sure we do it right and have it big enough.”

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

Councilman Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) said he believes the roundabout would keep traffic flowing through the intersection, while a traffic light might cause long backups along East Shirley Avenue.

As part of a revenue sharing agreement for intersection improvements, VDOT would provide $217,000 for the project and Walmart “proffered” $180,000 when it expanded the store about three years ago.

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

Alec Burnett (Ward 2) and other council members agreed it makes sense to conduct a public hearing earlier than required to gauge citizen response.

“This is a paradigm shift from what they are use to,” Mr. Burnett said.

The hearing will take place during the council meeting Tuesday, March 14. The council plans to have a second public hearing after designs have been completed.

It would be Warrenton’s first roundabout on a major street.

In other matters Thursday night, the town council:

• Agreed to hold a March 14 public hearing on a text amendment to the town’s leash law. The amendment would require citizens to keep dogs on a leash in the town, except when on owner or caretaker’s property.

• Learned that the Warrenton Rotary Club’s planned gift of a clock gift to the town must go before the Architectural Review Board. The clock would stand on the sidewalk outside the post office on Main Street.

The council’s next monthly meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14. The agenda includes a public hearing on St. James’ Episcopal Church’s application for a special use permit to build a 10,000-square-foot addition to its school. The council also will consider appropriating up to $44,000 for Warrenton Town Limits, a celebration around July 4 and will consider filling two vacancies on the ARB.
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asleitz · February 14, 2017 at 4:16 am
There is a crosswalk that exists now that would be removed in the roundabout. As it stands now, no one stops for people trying to use the crosswalk which is clearly marked with signs (hint Warrenton PD, maybe enforce it). A stop sign would allow pedestrians a safe alternative for crossing the street.
ella82 · February 12, 2017 at 12:10 am
This will be nothing more than another fiasco like the one created at Opal. who on earth is making these highway department decisions for Fauquier County....an idiot? Anyone who has ever driven in the immediate area of that Walmart knows where the problem is and it is not where Falmouth intersects Shirley but where Shirley intersects Hwy 15 near Lord Fairfax. Massive backups are occurring at that intersection and has gotten 500% worse in the last couple of years. But I guess it is fleece the taxpayer time again and build something that benefits no one ...EXCEPT Walmart who could well afford to build that unneeded circle with their own funds. Wakeup Fauquier..just imagine what that Hwy 15 intersection will be like when the traffic from the houses being built on the Alwington farm begins to roll.
Rover 530 · February 11, 2017 at 11:39 pm
The majority of accidents at this traffic circle will occur at the exit from and entrance to Falmouth Street. This is where the most driver confusion will happen. The 'yields' will cause the uncertainty in the minds of the drivers coming up to the circle. Write it down.
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