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January 25, 2019

Broadview Avenue proposal gets some citizen support

I think anything that helps safety is good thing. The medians will slow people down.
— Sally Semple, town resident
Broadview Ave. Project
• Concept includes: Series of mostly short medians between Route 211 and Roebling Street, 2 pedestrian crosswalks, a 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, traffic flow and business access.

• Where: About 0.8 mile between Route 211 and Roebling Street (at McDonald’s).

• Estimated cost: $8 million.

• More information: Click here

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

• Next: If the town council approves, the plan would go to a VDOT public hearing this spring. After final engineering and right-of-way acquisition, construction could start in 2022.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Editor
The proposed improvements to Warrenton’s Broadview Avenue received mostly positive reviews from a small group of citizens who attended an informational session the town hosted Wednesday night.

But, even advocates of the project, estimated to cost $8 million, had questions and reservations about bicycle lanes that would run along both sides of the busy commercial strip.

Although incomplete, the basic plan calls for a series of 14 medians and other traffic control structures along eight-tenths of a mile, from Roebling Street, where the McDonald’s restaurant stands, to the Route 211 intersection. It would make significant changes to the intersection, including two lanes — with new stoplights — for southbound Broadview traffic turning west onto Route 211.

“I totally support it; that’s 5 more feet than I’ve got on any other road,” town resident Mark Nesfeder said of the bicycle lanes. “It makes sense to fix Broadview first . . . before considering a bypass.

“If it’s not enough, then think about the bypass.”

A serious cyclist, Mr. Nesfeder and about a dozen other citizens reviewed and discussed the proposal during an informal session with traffic engineers and government officials in the Fauquier High School cafeteria.

For decades, local government had planned for construction of the Timber Fence Parkway — connecting Route 17 north of town to Route 211 at the western edge — to provide an alternative to Broadview.

But, the board of supervisors in 1994 removed that link from the county comprehensive plan. It would need county approval, because both ends would lie outside of the town limits.

And, in recent decades, the Olde Gold Cup, Silver Cup and Stoneleigh subdivisions developed — along with the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Center — along the parkway’s proposed route.

As Broadview traffic volume grew over the last three decades, the Virginia Department of Transportation built the Eastern Bypass and then the Route 17 Spur to relieve congestion.

But, Broadview still handles about 35,000 vehicles a day and has significant backups during the evening rush when traffic can clog both southbound lanes.

About 50 businesses line the 80-foot-wide swath of undivided pavement, with two travel lanes and a middle turn lane in each direction. Left turns in and out of businesses create dangerous situations and accidents.

David Norden, an architect and preservationist who served 16 years on the town council, said improving Broadview, “always with a sympathetic approach for businesses,” has ranked among the priorities for many Warrenton citizens and officials.

When he and others formed the Friends of Warrenton three decades ago, they listed construction of a Broadview median among 10 primary goals, Mr. Norden said Wednesday night.

But, he also expressed concern about the safety of the 5-foot-wide bike lanes, separated from vehicles with 2 feet of pavement markings, according to the plan.

Inclusion of those bike lanes helped Warrenton secure $7 million in federal “Smart Scale” funding, which VDOT administers, for the Broadview project. The town already has spent $1 million on preliminary engineering and other studies — money it would lose if Warrenton abandoned the project, as dozens of Broadview business and commercial property owners have suggested.

The southbound bike lane also crosses the two vehicle lanes that feed into Route 211 west, according to the plan.

Town Public Works Director Edward “Bo” Tucker told the audience Wednesday night that the preliminary plan represents only about 30 percent of the engineering that the project would require.

“I think anything that helps safety is good thing,” town resident Sally Semple said. “The medians will slow people down.”

The plan has evolved significantly over the last five years. VDOT and the town initially proposed a solid, wide median the length of Broadview and the closure of more than 30 “curb cuts” that allow vehicles to enter and exit business properties.

After overwhelming opposition from business and property owners, the town commissioned another study that recommended no curb cut elimination and a series of smaller medians.

Business interests again objected. The town staff drafted the latest concept, which includes two long turn lanes among the series of medians and structures. Two “islands” would provide pedestrian crossings.

Town officials and business owners consistently have pushed for a traffic signal at Gold Cup Drive — roughly in the middle of the strip. But, it wouldn’t qualify for federal or state funding, according to VDOT officials.

Many business owners contend that stoplight and improvements to the Route 211 intersection would represent a better alternative to the latest concept.

But, Mayor Carter Nevill said, “The town has done a very good job of listening to the business community.”

Mr. Nevill called it “a corridor in need of a vision,” with long-term potential for significant redevelopment.

“The town is committed to ensuring that the final project will balance the least negative impact with the greatest potential return for the Broadview business community that is directly affected,” he added. “It is also important to acknowledge that we have an obligation to address the welfare of the entire community and how this project impacts and delivers benefits to residents and businesses across the whole of town.”

Councilman Jerry Wood (Ward 1), who attended Wednesday’s meeting, also expressed support for the project.

The seven-member council must decide whether to proceed with the latest plan. If it does, VDOT would conduct a formal public hearing in the spring — probably between April and June, Mr. Tucker said.

If it proceeds, final engineering and some right-of-way acquisition would follow over the next couple of years. Construction could start in 2022. 

Contact Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

19.1.10 Business Informatio... by on Scribd

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Cammie Rodgers · January 28, 2019 at 9:03 am
Timber Fence Parkway back on the comprehensive plan. Number of vehicles per day versus number of cyclists? Agree with .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
pumblechook@mail.com · January 26, 2019 at 10:58 am
Bike lanes???? Seriously?
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