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December 13, 2017

Business owners pan plan for Broadview Avenue

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
VDOT’s David Cubbage addresses criticism of the proposed Broadview Avenue project at Tuesday’s meeting in Warrenton.
The proposed design would restrict left turns across Broadview, which handles about 33,000 vehicles per day.
Foster’s Grille President Mike Cerny outlines concerns about the potential loss of customers.
Moser Funeral Home owner Randy Minter questions the wisdom of building bike lanes on each side of the busy commercial strip.
My takeaway is there’s too much money spent. They’re going to do something, no matter what. What’s on the table now doesn’t make any sense at all.
— Business owner Brian Murphy
Broadview Ave. Project
• Concept includes: Seven short medians 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.

• More information: Click here

• Funding: State has allocated $7 million in federal funds; town would pay the balance.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The Broadview Avenue businessmen believe there could be a simple, cheaper way to fix traffic flow and safety problems than constructing medians along the busy Warrenton strip.

For starters, Burger King owner Jim Walther and Foster’s Grille President Mike Cerny believe the proposed $8 million Broadview Avenue project should get shelved for now.

Instead, the Virginia Department of Transportation should make a few improvements to Broadview’s intersection with Frost Avenue/Route 211 and install a traffic signal at Gold Cup Drive, they said.

Mr. Walther and Mr. Cerny outlined that plan Tuesday during a nearly two-hour meeting on proposed Broadview project.

Hosted by the town, about 20 Broadview Avenue business and property owners attended the meeting at the Warrenton Police Department building.

VDOT Project Manager David Cubbage and the agency’s consultant — Maryland-based Wallace Montgomery — provided an overview of the project, explained how it has evolved from the 2012 concept to a partially-complete design and answered questions.

“We’re here,” Mr. Cubbage told the audience. “We want to listen.”

The proposal shows seven short medians along a nearly mile-long stretch between Roebling Street and Frost Avenue.

Business owners sharply criticized most aspects of the project and suggested they would lose customers.

While medians would prohibit most left turns across the road, recommended u-turns would exacerbate rather than improve safety, Mr. Cerny, Mr. Walther and other merchants said.

The alternative Mr. Cerny and Mr. Walther suggested would eliminate all medians, including one that would block left-turn access to their eateries at the southern end of Broadview.

Improving vehicle flow and safety requires more efficient movement of through-traffic headed west on Frost Avenue/Route 211 toward Culpeper county, they said.

Lane improvements and adjustments at the Broadview/Frost intersection would accomplish that, they added.

Business owners and town officials want a new a stoplight at Gold Cup Drive and Broadview to more efficiently and safely move traffic. But VDOT’s standards don’t justify a signal there, Mr. Cubbage said.

Because of that, the town would have to pay to construct the light — a risky and expensive investment. VDOT has removed stoplights that fail to satisfy agency requirements, Mr. Cubbage noted.

Some believe a bypass west of Broadview Avenue could solve much of the congestion.

Under a controversial plan that died 14 years ago, Timber Fence Parkway, which serves Olde Gold Cup and Silver Cup subdivisions, would have connected Route 17 north of town and Route 211.

That bypass would require county board of supervisors’ approval because portions of it would lie outside of the town.

A previous board of supervisors rejected the concept, which generated intense opposition from homeowners, some Broadview Avenue business owners and conservationists.

While VDOT will respond to the business owners’ concerns about the Broadview project, the agency cannot guarantee all the suggestions make it into a revised plan, Mr. Cubbage said.

“We’re going to look for flexibility in design,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “I think there are areas where the plan can be improved.”

VDOT will reconsider the “feasibility” of a stoplight at Gold Cup Drive, Mr. Cubbage said.

The agency also will continue to study options related to a median break along Broadview Avenue to serve businesses between Church Street and Frost Avenue, he added.

Lidl — the German grocery giant — wants to build a 36,000-square-foot store at 394 Broadview Ave., next to McMahon’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. The store would replace the Cheswick Motel.

Prepared by Missouri–based HNTB, the 2012 preliminary design shows a closed median at Roebling Street and Old Broadview Avenue, at the Lidl site.

The store would increase Broadview traffic — which averages 33,000 vehicles a day — by about 10 percent, according to the grocer’s traffic study.

Although the design for Broadview remains unfinished, Lidl representatives have suggested reconfiguring the Roebling Street intersection instead of closing the median completely.

The grocer’s representatives have suggested and offered to pay for barriers that would allow left turns through the median from the north and south. But, vehicles coming from the side streets could not go straight across Broadview.

Motorists entering Broadview from Roebling from either side would be limited to right turns. 

VDOT will continue to evaluate that proposal, Mr. Cubbage said.

The Broadview project also calls for a bike lane on each side of the roadway.

Incredulous business owners said that feature only would create more safety problems for all who use the avenue.

“That doesn’t seem logical,” said Randy Minter, owner of Moser Funeral Home at 233 Broadview Ave., noting that no bike lines exist along the highway beyond the project area. “It doesn’t create” safe conditions for cyclists. “I just wonder if that’s appropriate.”

But the design includes the bike lanes to help satisfy requirements to help secure federal funds for the project, Mr. Cubbage explained.

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

“My takeaway is there’s too much money spent” to completely scuttle the project, said Brian Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Motorsports at 164 Broadview Ave. “They’re going to do something, no matter what. What’s on the table now doesn’t make any sense at all.”

That plan necessarily changed — in some cases affecting the number and location of proposed medians, for example — as the consultant began preparing an engineered design to meet VDOT safety and other criteria and to meet funding requirements for the project, according to transportation officials.

“This is a 30-percent (engineered) plan,” Mr. Cubbage said after the meeting. “What we’re trying to do is get it to 100 percent.”

VDOT and town staff members will meet again with Broadview Avenue businesses and property owners in late January.

The agency plans to conduct a public information meeting in May and a public hearing on the completed Broadview design in October.

“For this project to succeed, we have to have local people involved,” Mr. Cubbage said. “And, what better way to do that than to come here and meet with them once a month.”

In the end, the town council will make the final call on the project, Warrenton Resident Engineer Mark Nesbit told the group.

The council can proceed with the project or “we can throw the plans in the trashcan and go forward,” Mr. Nesbit said.

Mayor Powell Duggan and four council members — Brett Hamby (Ward 2), Bob Kravetz (Ward 4), Sean Polster (At-large) and Linda “Sunny” Reynolds — attended the meeting.

Mr. Polster likes the idea of improving the Broadview/Frost intersection and installing a stoplight at Gold Cup Drive to determine if congestion and safety issues can be resolved without installing medians.

“I think at this point we need to keep our options open,” he added. “I think that’s a viable opinion.

“There were a lot of good ideas. I look forward to seeing what VDOT comes back with.”

Mr. Cerny also complained that the 2102 concept underwent “significant” changes without notice to affected merchants. They include reducing proposed median breaks from nine to seven and limiting left turn opportunities to and from many businesses, he said.

“Our traffic consultant and a small group of business owners were summarily informed of this stunning transformation of the 2012 town council-approved plan at an October 2017 meeting with VDOT,” said Mr. Cerny, reading a prepared statement during Tuesday’s meeting.

Without citing specifics, Mr. Polster thinks the town failed to keep businesses and citizens adequately informed about the project.

“The town has to do a better job of communicating with everybody,” said the councilman, who believes social media must play a bigger role in achieving that goal. “We need to do a better job of being proactive.”

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BikerFriendlyGal · December 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm
Well, between "Now" and the next 15-20 years, you may as well support the new safety and aesthetic improvements. They are needed and welcome improvements regardless of where and when any other road is built.
bblimber · December 19, 2017 at 3:49 pm
One word. Timberfence.

Stop wasting time and $$$!

Build it and if you want to know why the plan was "scrapped" in 2003 - follow the money.

If it was there once put it back on! Now!
BikerFriendlyGal · December 17, 2017 at 10:47 am
Planned forever ago...yes.
But removed from the County Comprehensive Plan in 2003, long before most homeowners bought in the neighborhoods.
awiejerry00 · December 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Build the bypass that was planned forever ago...long before the homeowners bought in the neighborhoods. They knew it was coming.
Sven622 · December 14, 2017 at 9:24 pm
Cleaner... You got that right!! Build the freakin western bypass!!
cleaner · December 14, 2017 at 4:12 pm
This plan is a complete waste of money and all it will do is devastate the businesses in town. The town council needs to be reminded the were elected to represent THE TOWN OF WARRENTON,it's residents and not the commuters who cut through it to go to Clevenger's corner, down 229 or beyond. Allow access for people in town to get around and businesses to flourish not starve as all the vehicles go by to somewhere else.
Tell It Like It Is · December 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm
VDOT says it will be "less congested" ? But they have no data or study as to how much "additional traffic" this 8 million dollar project would enable Broadview to handle.

VDOT changed the plan from 9-7 crossovers without consulting the community.

VDOT has wasted money on the weigh station that has not been used.

VDOT has totally messed up the Opal interchange project.

VDOT is going to mess up the southern Warrenton 29/17 LFCC interchange project because they have already left out one major item of traffic flow importance in the two designs that have been made public.

VDOT will mess this this project up as well because after spending 8 million, guess what? We still only have two lanes each way and that simply can't handle any more traffic. How many years of engineering schooling does it take to put a pencil to that answer? I'd bet money that our middle school kids are smarter enough the figure that out.

VDOT and the Town of Warrenton fail to recognize the fact that the TIMBER FENCE Parkway or a western Warrenton by-pass of some configuration, just like the eastern and northern by-pass projects, is the only viable and long term solution for reducing congestion on Broadview Av !!

VDOT and TOWN of Warreton, stop wasting our time and tax dollars on things that will not solve traffic congestion issues and build the Parkway.

Addtionally, like the Elk run intersection and the addition of a 4 way stop that corrected the most dangerous intersection in the county, the solutions need not be complicated and some not even expensive.

the only thing existing roads in Warrenton need are lower speed limits. 35mph on Broadview and 15 mph on main street.

Unfortunately the parties making the decisions an't justify their paychecks with such simple yet effective methods and thus wish to waste taxpayer.

Town of Warrenton, shame on you for removal of the Parkway plan and taking the money!! Give it back and do a better job.

VDOT shame on you for wasting our money on many, but not all, complicated road projects in this county that are not forward thinking enough for long term solutions.

God help this county and state if this is this best leadership we can put together. Jesus people what are you thinking.
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