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March 3, 2021 · OPINION

Warrenton plan conflicts with interests of residents

The proposed extension of Timber Fence Parkway north to Route 17 and south to Waterloo Road.
By Mark E. Nesfeder

The Town of Warrenton 2040 Comprehensive Plan paints an especially cheery picture of the proposed Timber Fence Bypass and the newly added Southern Bypass.

The plan optimistically describes the Western Bypass (Timber Fence) as a “neighborhood connector” with “innovative intersections” that would somehow ensure capacity and safety. As a local collector, this description is appropriate. However, as a regional connector, it is an invitation for disaster.

Traffic capacity has always been touted as a reason to justify these projects, but history and now the future appear to show that projected traffic increases will not approach volumes requiring the construction of new highways through long established residential communities within town limits.

One case in point: Broadview Avenue traffic has declined about 11 percent over the past decade. (Source: VDOT Jurisdiction Report Daily Traffic Volume Estimates.)

Notably removed from a previous Comprehensive Plan draft is “Advance the Timber Fence Parkway that would connect Route 211 with Route 17 to remove heavy vehicles from local roadways.”

Those of us familiar with bypass history know well that this is the town’s ultimate goal, despite dumbing down the plan language to indicate otherwise.

Heavy traffic and a neighborhood connector don’t add up. Heavy traffic and a Culpeper County connector would be more accurate, exactly what town transportation studies have concluded would happen if Route 211 were connected to Route 17.

All of this comes as no surprise to many town citizens, as consultants and our own town planners continue their long history of ignoring and downplaying the multitude of negative and unsafe impacts of these projects on town residents while trying to sell a more palatable neighborhood-friendly scenario to the town council.

In case you are not familiar with the last Timber Fence Bypass go around in 2010, the county supervisors and others soundly affirmed the concerns of town citizens and overwhelmingly rejected what the town continues to promulgate to this date.

“I fear the town and county would have little if any control over the type of bypass that might get built,” former Supervisor Ray Graham (Cedar Run District) said.

“Lacking power to impose conditions over a bypass, the county could lose control over this thing,” said Supervisor Peter Schwartz (Marshall).

“A bypass should have been built before the homes,” former Supervisor Chester Stribling said.

“For one, putting a bypass so close to the high school and right smack dab in the middle of suburbia doesn’t strike us a particularly good planning. We don’t think a lot of folks have yet fully envisioned how large and intrusive an interchange would have to be to accommodate a new two or four lane road merging into four lanes of U.S. 17,” said an editorial in The Fauquier Times.

Result: Town citizens rely on everyone but their own town council to act on their behalf.

The existing Timber Fence Parkway should only be extended within town limits from Bear Wallow Road to Waterloo Road as a neighborhood collector road, providing residents with alternative travel connections that are not available west of Broadview Avenue, allowing better access to community parks, Fauquier High School, the WARF and for emergency vehicles.

The town council should support the needs of the residents and businesses of the town first and preserve our water supply, our parks, our schools, our walkability, our neighborhoods, our homes.
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BikerFriendlyGal · March 14, 2021 at 3:57 pm
Point well taken. Like the Town HNTB study that typically "overestimated" traffic conditions because "the Town" wanted everything to look "like the sky was falling" with "impact on our daily lives." One way to justify the need for a bypass that's really not needed.
Silii · March 13, 2021 at 5:18 pm
"Traffic studies" defy common sense. They typically far underestimate traffic conditions because developers want everything to look rosy and without impact on our daily lives. For instance, traffic on Broadview has been down the better part of 2020 due to the pandemic. What if the traffice study had been done then? Results would be far different from a study during normal times (which will return). Traffic on Broadview is currently a mess and traffic from Clevenger's Corner won't help. Try being on 29N at 5 a.m. trying to get to 66 in Gainesville.
Only people who drive the routes constantly have any sense at all about traffic impacts and the fact Broadview can't handle more cars.
BikerFriendlyGal · March 10, 2021 at 1:46 pm
Clevenger's Corner's own traffic study said that any impact at Rt. 211 and Broadview Avenue (Intersection #9 in the study) would be minimal given the distance from the project to that intersection. Additionally, who says all of that traffic would travel towards Warrenton anyway? Maybe retail in the project will have us heading out that way to shop? And in case you didn't know, there's probably more right of way that hasn't been reserved than has So, you are correct. The need for the bypass is mute.
LackingAliasCreativity · March 10, 2021 at 11:56 am
In 2010, the plans to build hundreds of houses at Clevenger's Corner development died along with the rest of the real estate industry. There wasn't a need to provide a bypass from Rte. 211 to Rte 17 for the commuters. Now, Clevenger's Corner is going ahead, and the need for a bypass is coming up quickly. Otherwise, the reason for the Rte 17 bypass will be mute and all of that traffic will be back on Broadview. That area around Gold Cup and Silver Cup has been right-of-way for a long time. So, it should have been buyer beware. Take it up with your realtor. They did you dirty.
Linda Ward · March 9, 2021 at 9:53 am
BikerFriendlyGal - For anyone living along this route, I feel for you. Denied in 2010 does not mean denied in the future. We didn't want the Warrenton Airport to be expanded either, yet it has been. We didn't want our neighbors to sell their land to a developer, but they did. Wishful thinking that things won't change in the future is just that, wishful thinking.
Linda Ward · March 9, 2021 at 9:48 am
March 9, 2021
Hiding public information stokes citizens’ skepticism
By Megan Rhyne
Virginia Coalition for Open Government

Comments are not being allowed for the above posted "news". So I'll post here. YES, to everything Ms. Rhyne wrote. Enough of the backdoor policies including this article and the actions in our community. · March 8, 2021 at 8:04 am
The traffic is down by 11 percent on Broadview Avenue. Why is this Timber Fence Bypass still being forced upon the quiet communities, including Olde Gold Cup and Silver Cup?
BikerFriendlyGal · March 7, 2021 at 4:01 pm
The Board of Supervisors certainly listened in 2010 and responded accordingly. Denied!
Cammie Rodgers · March 5, 2021 at 2:44 pm
Ask the people who live along Oak Springs Drive how they feel about the Route 17 bypass that was put in in 1997. No one asked their opinion either, except for how high to build the sound barrier wall. Most of the original owners either sold at the time or stayed and have moved since then.

Residents along Timber Fence Parkway should plan accordingly.
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