Neighborhood Braces for Traffic Influx to New High School

As summer slips away and the school year approaches, final preparations are underway to christen the new Clarke County High School with its first class of students. However, as the first day nears, the reality of new traffic patterns is manifesting itself in the adjoining neighborhood and residents are voicing concerns.

The decision to put the main school entrance on Mosby Blvd was a contentious one from the outset. In the early stages of planning the new school, the Clarke County School Board shifted the entrance from Main Street to the proposed extension of Mosby as a cost-saving measure. By situating the entrance in the neighborhood the school system would be able to leverage VDOT funds slated for the Mosby extension to eliminate a costly entrance on Main Street. The move was approved despite strong opposition from the residents of Battlefield Estates. The decision meant that students, faculty, and the general public could only access the new school via Mosby Blvd. A smaller entrance on Main Street was retained in the design for bus traffic.

However, the timing of the road work is creating what some residents fear will be a dangerous situation.

As work continues around the school, the extension of Mosby remains unfinished and will not be open in time for the beginning of the school year. According to Murphy, the round-a-bout is scheduled to be functional (but not finished) by the first day of class, but the Mosby extension through the school campus will not be completed for some time. Consequently the initial volume of traffic through Battlefield Estates will be even higher than what has been anticipated because it will be the only way to access the main entrance.

Sharon Strickland, President of the Battlefield Estates Civic Association (BECA) has heard concerns from many neighbors in the community. She has already seen a spike in traffic as activities begin at the new facility, but is concerned that drivers are speeding through the neighborhood that has a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. “Teens are famous for speeding and I hope their parents truly will caution them to follow the speed signage.”

BECA is also pressuring town and county officials to support the installation of four way stop signs in the neighborhood as an added measure of traffic calming.

Superintendent Mike Murphy has responded to the concerns and issued a letter to the school board  and public officials stating, “We continue to be proactive regarding the opening of the new Clarke County High School and are working on a variety of items, both large and small, to ensure a smooth opening as it relates to ingress and egress to and from our beautiful new school.”

The list of measures includes:

  • Persistent reminders to students and staff to be respectful of neighbors and neighborhoods as they access the school
  • An AlertNow message is scheduled this week for all families; safe driving as well as the issue of speeding in and around school zones will be addressed
  • Bus drivers have been put on high alert regarding speed limits and will be making practice runs in the bus loop before school.
  • Four additional solar power flashing school signs will be placed in close proximity to the new school
  • Superintendent Murphy has also recommend to the Town Council that the entire length of Mosby (from Food Lion to the round-a-bout) become “Special Traffic Enforcement Zone.” This would allow the Berryville Police to double the fine for speeding in the school zone.

The Berryville Police will be collecting traffic data on Mosby Blvd, this week and  again after school starts. They have also put a mobile radar flashing sign in place to help make drivers aware of their speed.

Superintendent Murphy said, “Bottom line is that we are working on all we can work on at the present time. Human behavior is hard to change and law enforcement support has been and will continue to critical to this issue.”

 

Comments

  1. “… In the early stages of planning the new school, the Clarke County School Board shifted the entrance from Main Street to the proposed extension of Mosby as a cost-saving measure. By situating the entrance in the neighborhood the school system would be able to leverage VDOT funds slated for the Mosby extension to eliminate a costly entrance on Main Street….”

    Ahh, so now I finally got the answer to my question. To “save money”, the School Board decided to run a road through the property, effectively cutting it in half and rendering the open space extremely limited for future use.

    smh

    • livein22611 says:

      No, the town was going to have Mosby completed come h*** or high water! This goes fully on the town powers that be. It was in their comprehensive plan (probably made in about 1959!) and it WAS going to happen. While I feel a bit for those who live on Mosby, this should be a lesson to really check into the neighborhood and future plans for your area before buying property.
      Bright side, VDOT is using all taxpayer money for this project and just not Clarke having to foot the entire bill!

  2. Chuck E. Cheese says:

    Lincoln Ave. and Swan Ave. never turned into a drag strip after the construction of the old high school.

    • Sharon Strickland says:

      These avenues are not wide open and very broad. They are tree lined and do not give a wide open appearance. We get drivers from several states. Do me a favor and come and sit with me and watch the speeders. Maybe, you can enjoy all the VDOT trucks that haul road material in one truck after another. No sleeping past 7AM over here. Most of us get up early anyway and now just have our breakfast while counting trucks. The decision to have the traffic enter on Mosby was a bad decision and was done for spite. If one resident gets hurt here, I will go to each person that voted for it and stare them down. I have lost all respect for them.

    • lincoln resident says:

      Obviously you don’t live on the street. We have tried to get help with the speed, flow of traffic and numbers of vehicles on this narrow road where 2 cars can barely pass by each other…..all to no avail. We can’t even get the sign threatening a higher fine. Spend a day on the street when a football practice, tryout, game are happening…..it is ridiculous how rude some of the people can be…we are simply trying to leave our home or get back to it.

      If the powers that be could simply make it a one way street with the traffic flowing in from Main St only. That would mean when leaving your drive or the Middle School you must go to the end of the street onto Tyson…..then it’s a simple left or right onto Hermitage Blvd. No heading back out to Main from the scool would solve a lot of the issues here. The congestion and near misses I witness everyday would ease considerably. I dread Aug 21!

  3. livinginbville says:

    “the round-a-bout is scheduled to be functional (but not finished)” – – I pass through the round about construction at least twice a day. If the construction workers actually WORKED, it would have been completed before now. It is incredibly annoying to be stopped there by a flag man and see that 11 of 15 laborors are doing NOTHING. I guess there is no incentive to finish early.

    • 20 able bodied men cant get a round about done in 2 months, yet many feel the government is capable of taking care of health care for all.
      Right

      • Hmmm…given that the intersection in question is a right busy one; that has to remain passable every day while construction is going on; involves burying utility lines, pouring and shaping and smoothing the curbs; has to halt for rain (which there’s been a bit of this summer)…I’d say it’s pretty great that it’s as far along as it is.

  4. Simmahdahnnah! says:

    I walk on Mosby pretty often and really don’t see that there will be much of an issue. It seems to me some complainers are just doing some complaining because they live near the school and don’t like it there. Have any of these people ever had kids? It doesn’t seem so. Put up some stop signs and speed bumps along Mosby if it is that much of a worry and be done with it. You are statistically more likely to witness crazy drivers of all ages after dark, not before and after school in broad daylight.

    • The gripe is with the fact that the extension really wasn’t necessary, it was just done to save money. But cutting a road through that much open space to save money was extremely shortsighted.

      • It saved money by NOT having to build a traffic-light-controlled entrance on Main Street near Rosemont, RW. The Town dug its heels in on the necessity of a connected Mosby as a “major connector road,” and – depsite the best in-front-of-and-behind-the-curtains emailing of a certain former SB chair – this road had to be accommodated.

        Moving the entrance was the best way to make a silk purse of that sow’s ear of a road extension. Don’t castigate the SB fully for this one.

    • Sharon Strickland says:

      You are not walking at the top of Mosby. Not only do we have multiple speeding issues we now have the track teams running down the middle of Mosby day and night. Add to the school staff and students and we also have the VDOT contractor employees and VDOT personnel rushing up and down. We have a wide open road and everyone wants to race on it. They get off work and see a wide road and believe me–they race. Yes, we have children and we have grandchildren. One truck nearly hit my grandson three weeks ago. He simply turned westward on Mosby and a racing truck almost hit him and then continued on without a care. I guess he saw us running. I will get him yet! We have more women than men speeding. On National Night Out, my daughter was driving me and her children to the event. We were doing the speed limit. Fortunately for us, I saw a racing teen coming down Jackson. She had a stop sign. She did not stop and we had to floor the brakes. She was annoyed at us. I did not recognize her at all and I know most of the kids here. I started to get out and remind her she had a stop sign. She floored it and went around our car and then raced up Mosby. Must have been late to get a schedule or pick up someone at football practice. Scary, huh??? Come and sit on my veranda and watch as the cars race up and down all day. When the police leave, they race past the warning sign. What is the answe?. One neighbor, who once worked for Sheriff Roper, has nearly been hit twice now trying to get her mail out of the box facing Mosby. She is furious. Another neighbor can’t seem to drive out of her driveway now without having to wait for the lines of cars coming and going. When someone gets really hurt, tell me about the cost savings!

    • Simplyhanginon says:

      “Walk on Mosby often”, however, betcha you do not live in this subdivision, betcha if a racer accidentally rolls up on a curb in excess racing/speeding and hits and injures you. Your tune would change. Your tune would play like a law suit. Really you have no dog in this race.

    • The people living in Battlefield Estates voted in FAVOR of the school being in our neighborhood ( of which I am one). I have school age children. Some of us are upset because we were told that there would be NO school traffic coming through our neighborhood. As at the meeting this was our main concern. I was the person who asked this question and was told that this would never happen. So we said yes, let the school finally be built for our children.

      I will never again trust in the seemingly good nature of our town officials

  5. I have read the article and posts, and believe there are some misconceptions concerning the existence of the new high school’s main entrance at the end of the ‘current’ Mosby.

    The main entrance was indeed originally planned to be on Main Street, across from the Rosemont entrance. This plan was rejected by the Town, and the SB was required, in order to obtain a Special Use Permit to construct the school at all, to agree to not only put the main entrance where they wanted it, but a the bus entrance on Main Street, and also to build out another back entrance (across from the waterworks) to the school.

    There was no money ‘saved’. While a traffic signal did not have to be built on Main Street, the build-out of 3 entrances and corresponding roads, (not a legal requirement), imposed by the Special Use Permit cost more than having one main entrance with a light. Additionally, the SB had to give up fully 9 acres of its land for the roundabout/Mosby right-of-way and various easements demanded by the Town. The SB received no payment for this lost land or the decreased value of the remaining land north of Mosby.

    Is having the main entrance off of Mosby a bad idea? In my view, yes. I voted against it, but was in the minority.

    Time will tell, however, when the ‘new’ Mosby is completed (and all that VDOT construction traffic goes away) and traffic flows normally. With proper speed controls, it may go well in spite of everyone’s fears.

    If not, and traffic snarls/accidents multiply, there is a solution. It would not take much to modify the current bus entrance on Main Street and make it a main entrance after all.

    RRB

    • Robina, what was the reason that the Town rejected the Main Street entrance? Thanks for chiming in!

      • Tammy Lanham says:

        I recall attending one of the early meetings (held at the bus garage office, perhaps that’s why it sticks in my mind) and school board members were reviewing various options/studies etc. The roundabout was the most cost-effective option (over stoplights etc.) and after MUCH discussion the majority of board members went with DMV studies (that had counted cars, measured the hill beside Rosemont and considered visibility options of possible backed up traffic etc. and determined the location of the current bus entrance was not a safe main entrance for the school…. emergency vehicle access was the main consideration for the “third” Mosby entrance. I have it in notes somewhere, but honestly, we have to trust our elected officials to do their jobs and work together and rehashing the whole thing won’t make a difference. Attending meetings is important of course, but at some point we have to trust the people we elect to trust the professionals who they consult before decisions are made. Good grief. Oh- and Sarge, they did go with the “optimal configuration”- I was at many meetings and followed it closely and I agree with the final decisions (knowing why they were made) Sadly the time passed, School Board members changed and money was slow (back to the low priority here w/educational funding and all that). And of course the Mosby people are not pleased (although blaming staff and students and runners for TEMPORARY increased “traffic” … yikes) And while I’m at it, I do believe time will tell… Sharon, we’ve both been to meetings, and yes, I’ve seen the plans, and also curiously enough came across a recent google map view of the properties along Mosby. I was suprised at how few homeowners were actually affected. Mosby won’t be a highway, and for the good of the entire community in the entire county I say just roll with it and move on to something else! (like urging Echols to build sidewalks along all roads in BE would be a fabulous start!)

        • So you think that slicing the open space on the school property in half was a better option? Just to save money? That turn in front of Rosemont is nothing. The fact that the maiin entrance should have been near the front of Rosemont is very telling to me.

          You think Echols is going to put in sidewalks after the fact?

          You really are naive.

    • While the town is to blame for the ultimate outcome, the school board bears the burden of having been played like a fiddle. Yes the town required three entrances but the school board determined the location and use of each entrance and cost saving was the ruse hat lead them to believe the Main entrance should be on Mosby. Did it save money? Heck no. The cost of curbs, gutters and turn lanes on Main Street was inflated to scare those school board members who were easily lead around, but in the end the town convinced the board to use Mosby as an entrance and then quickly used that decision to justify the reason Mosby needed to be built. VDOT even changed the reason for the project on their site to “To create a safe efficient entrance for the Clarke County High School”

      All and all a very poor showing for the School Board and now everyone will have to live with.

      Played like a fiddle.

  6. RW –

    I believe that the Town, when the original configuration showed the school’s main entrance on Main Street, with only an emergency, gated entrance off of the existing Mosby,was worried that there would be no perceived need whatsoever to build out the remainder of Mosby which had been in their comprehensive plan for over 20 years. Their focus was on ensuring that Mosby was built out, not on choosing the most efficient or cost-effective entrance.

    RRB

    • Thanks Robina. Now, if we could just get someone from the Town to respond. Town officials? Are you there?

      • Oh Town Officials? We know you read this site. How bout an answer?

        • Allan "Bugs" McWilliams says:

          Speaking as a former council member I would not respond to a newspaper forum either. All council members names & phone numbers are readily available. Council meetings are hold on the the 2nd Tuesday of each month & they have what is called a citizen’s forum.

          • I’d say there’s a citizens forum right here, and it’s a lot more convenient for most folks than physical meetings on a week night

          • Allan "Bugs" McWilliams says:

            Maybe if people were required to use their real name & address elected officials would would respond.

          • Kevin Lambert says:

            Best comment of the year there Mr. McWilliams. I agree totally.

          • And what difference would that make? A question is a question. Now, I could perhaps see if a majority of people asking the question lived outside of Clarke County, but I don’t think that is the case.

            Regardless, public officials are supposed to be responsive to the people. That’s the theory anyway. But I suspect the reason there has been no reply is because the answer, if replied to truthfully, would go something like this,

            “We decided to forego what would be the optimal configuration for the school and the students that attend because we didn’t want to shell out for a traffic light and we wanted a road built that was originally proposed when Echolsville was supposed to be built up all the way to the fairgrounds”.

          • Shouldn’t matter. I could go into a Town Meeting and give my name as “Fred Mertz”, and they would still have to answer my question.

            Elected officials are above nothing, especially the people they are elected to represent.

          • Kevin Lambert says:

            Ok thats cool. But why the alias? Seriously, you guys have valid points but why are you afraid to show your names?

          • It’s not that we are afraid to. It’s that we choose not to. If you have views that are different from others in this county, it doesn’t take long for the big fish in the small pond that is Clarke County to make life here difficult on your family.

          • Still no word from the “Town Officials”. Hmm, I recommend then that they all be replaced due to the fact that they do not support CDN as a viable forum and refuse to answer to their constituents repeated queries.

            In other words, throw the bums out.

          • Additionwly, you have addressed matters on here before. Heck, you released those emails catching RRB in, let’s say, an inconsistency in her spoken and digital words about Mosby and other aspects of the project. So, please, spare us the faux “high road” attitude.

          • They are going to use “no real names” as an excuse not to address the issue? Wow. Ok, so if that’s a case, write a letter to the editor, Town Council, and explain. That way it won’t be on some public forum.

          • Those meeting times are not convenient for me, and as elected officials, they should answer questions from their constituents no matter what the forum.

          • I don’t see any reason why a spokesperson can’t respond? Robina has talked on here at various times, and a county rep or two joined in the discussion about the new “signs” for the county. What do names and addressed have to do with it? You going to mail the explanation?

          • Those meetings are a joke! You prepare a speech. They pretend to listen. Give you a vague answer, or not at all usually. You walk out of there feeling like you’ve been walked ON!

  7. As a Main Street resident. Don’t worry, the kid who plays the bass so loud you can hear it in the back of your house with a sound machine on has graduated. And with the school there you will have more police patrol to stop the speeding. And what is so wrong with the track team running on your road. Enjoy and cheer them on, could be the next Olympian in that group.

  8. Roscoe Evans says:

    Perhaps Clarke County should retain the nationally acclaimed jurist, AV, to sue the meanies at The Salvation Army. Surely he could wrestle away from them that acreage that they purportedly promised Clarke for “educational purposes” so very long ago. (The Army really is a Church, after all, and maybe he can claim there’s a First Amendment issue with cloking a religious cult in military clothing. I can just see him now, holding his dogeared copy of the 1789 Constitution on high, urging that the Army be banned from Clarke, as an abomination on the faith of his English forebears. That image alone would convince any court to do his bidding. No doubt, he has used it before.)

    Once Clarke gets all that land, it can build a full sized high school on it, well away from traffic and from nosy and annoyed neighbors.

    Then, the existing high school building can be converted to a shopping mall, giving the county a slew of small businesses to jolt our local economy and to maximize the local tax base.

    I can see it now…

    In the interim, you’re right Alicia Let the track team run down that road.

    • Realistic Joe says:

      You chose this thread for a remark towards someone that didn’t even make a comment here?
      Except for your last sentence as Granny would say, “You just showed your rear-end”.

    • Why not you, as you also claim to be a locally acclaimed jurist?

    • They’ve run down our road for years. This is not the problem. I resent the NOSY neighbor comment. My children and pets play here. Now they are in more danger than usual because of the traffic! We were LIED TO that is what has annoyed us. Sheesh!

  9. Red Bully says:

    Why didn’t Clarke just build tunnels from every students driveway to there respective schools?
    Huh? Answer that!!! People were born with these things called legs, maybe if the human race
    Remembered they had them, all the kids could use em. Walk walk walk to school.

  10. A just tribute says:

    Most people are honored if they get a tribute to their community efforts. I suggest the Mosby extension be renamed the Allen Kitsleman Dragway.

    • dmaxnjackson says:

      Dont worry about calling the Mayor’s office. Talked to him directly, was told to have a nice day. So, next election, you are not getting my vote. You are suppose to be working for the people you serve. And serving you are not.

  11. Tammy Lanham says:

    “Time will tell, however, when the ‘new’ Mosby is completed (and all that VDOT construction traffic goes away) and traffic flows normally. With proper speed controls, it may go well in spite of everyone’s fears.”

    I agree with Robins that time will tell….. and I believe the flow between Cooley and the new HS site will be vastly improved as a result of the new roundabout.

    The “commuting” time for parents, buses and staff members will also start to improve as the traffic “flows normally” during the two short hours each day we have a “rush hour” in Berryville.

    As for the fears of a few residents on Mosby, just avoid walking during those two hours until the road is completed, and then be thankful the extension is finished because the traffic will slow down again:) I would lay odds the homeowners on Jackson Drive will also appreciate the opening of Mosby – as was promised when the development was built….

    • Sharon Strickland says:

      Tammy, there are more than a few residents totally concerned about the traffic to soon enter our neighborhood. There are so many that I cannot count. This traffic will never slow down because once Mosby is finished then the neighbors will have a freeway that will allow any traffic to enter to exit at the end of Mosby. We can expect people trying to get home sooner to Winchester by using Mosby to get to Westwood so that they can get to 50. Follow cars coming off Route 7 during commuting time and you will watch drivers come up Mosby to drive down Jackson to get up to Westwood.

      We will have plenty of county drivers wanting to get to football games or future fair events that will use Mosby. Already, we are seeing a lot more traffic than usual.

      The homeowners on Jackson will soon see more cars as people drive on Jackson to get to Mosby. They will have drivers coming from Boyce and beyond that will want to get to the school. There will never be a normal again and we, the residents of Battlefield Estates, will have to make sure that all measures are taken to slow down traffic and that tickets are given to those that speed. Telling people to avoid walking is not a solution. Just crossing our streets now is dangerous. Already, neighbors are having to wait longer to exit their driveways or get their mail safely. And, go speak to Mr. Echols. He absolutely states in every meeting that he NEVER planned for Mosby to be a through road. His drawings show houses and unless a driver was planning on going through a house there was no exit on Mosby.

      Tammy, do you live in BE? Did you attend all the meetings held to discuss the school and the road? Did you ask to see drawings of Mosby? Remember, five years ago, Mosby was Mosby Road. The town changed it to Boulevard. Welcome to the Freeway to Hell! Gone is the peace and quiet that neighbors once knew. Let us hope that drivers will respect that this is not a freeway and that people live here and children play here and dogs and adults walk here. This is where we live.

      • hhmmmm.... says:

        Wait a little longer to get out of your driveway? More traffic? No peace and quiet? There’s something we can all agree on…sorta. We complained of all the same things…when all those houses and subdivisions were built. after awhile you get used to it because that’s just the way it is.

    • Jackson Resident says:

      Yes, residents on Jackson will appreciate the completion of Mosby, like promised.

      • Jackson Resident says:

        In addition, just to clear up one point, when I moved to Berryville on Jackson, I was show a plot map with several roads by Mr. Echols, including Mosby that exited onto business 7.