VDOT & Town Officials Discuss Mosby with Public

Virginia Department of Transportation and Berryville officials were on hand Wednesday evening for a marathon question and answer public meeting designed to answer questions about the proposed extension of Mosby Boulevard to Main Street. According to VDOT and Town officials, the road extension will provide significant benefit to Berryville and Clarke County.

In literature distributed to meeting attendees, VDOT says that the estimated $3.4 project, which includes a round-about at the intersection of Westwood Avenue and Main Street, will enhance traffic flow in and out of the new Clarke County High School with fewer vehicles lining up to stop and proceed at the intersection.

Mosby Blvd - Berryville, VA

VDOT literature distributed at the meeting claims that Mosby Boulevard traffic, 1,200 vehicles per day in 2009, will climb to 1,800 vehicles per day by 2034.

“The Mosby Boulevard project is part of Berryville’s comprehensive plan to improve its collector roads and provides an entrance to the new high school” said Michael Fulcher, road design engineer for the project. “The project was originally planned for Westwood Avenue to provide turning lanes in front of the existing high school for safer ingress and egress. There is a lot of traffic through Berryville. The intent of the comprehensive plan is to alleviate through Berryville by expanding the roads parallel to Main Street. The Mosby extension is the last segment of this collector road.”

Berryville Mayor Wilson Kirby described the Mosby Boulevard extension as part of the town’s larger vision for bypass traffic flow.

“Our comprehensive plan includes a transportation plan” Kirby said. “This completes the bypass plan for Berryville’s northwest quadrant.”

Town Council Recorder Jay Arnold said that as a former fire and rescue squad chief, he sees benefit to extending Mosby Boulevard beyond simply improving traffic flow around Berryville. “It’s good to have two exits to a subdivision in case of an emergency like a gas leak. This also provides additional fire and rescue access to the new high school” Arnold said. “If we can get this now we should do it, especially if we can pay for the road using state funds.”

Berryville Town Manager Keith Dalton said that he saw many purposes for extending Mosby Boulevard.

“Mosby Boulevard will provide access to the new high school” Dalton said. “But in the bigger picture, completion of Mosby from its current terminus to Main Street completes the northwest connector road provided for by both the Clarke County and Berryville comprehensive plans.”

Dalton also said that there are other examples of collector roads in Berryville including Hermitage Boulevard, Jack Enders Boulevard and eventually a northeast quadrant collector road using Fairfax Street and First Street.

Dalton also said that Mosby Boulevard will alleviate traffic pressure in downtown Berryville where traffic patterns are much more difficult to modify.

“The intersection of Main Street and Buckmarsh is very hard to change because of the existing development patterns there” Dalton said. “Mosby Boulevard will allow some of the traffic coming into town to avoid that intersection and will improve public safety.”

Dalton pointed out that if the Mosby Boulevard extension project did not take place, improvements would still have to be made to the intersection of Westwood Avenue and Main Street as well as complete the connection between Main Street and the west entrance of the new high school.

“Right now we are able to use state funding for this requirement” Dalton said. “Otherwise the road would have to be funded and built by the school.” Dalton additionally pointed out that the VDOT designed round-about is a much less expensive intersection design than an traditional traffic light design, in part, because of the lack of alignment between Whitacre Circle and Westwood Avenue. Because the two roads do not form a natural alignment, Dalton questioned whether a traditional traffic intersection could be accomplished without additional easements to re-position one of the roads.

“I believe that it would be quite a bit more expensive than a traffic circle” Dalton said.

While there was plenty of official support for the extension of Mosby, at least one public official who attended the meeting still had a lingering reservation about the project.

“Back in the day when 94 homes were scheduled for that area I believe that the extension was need” said Clarke County Supervisor Barbara Byrd. “The only thing that bothers me now is that a commuter road will be going through school property. If traffic calming measures are implemented that may help to alleviate the concern.”

Comments

  1. Van Armacost says:

    “Right now we are able to use state funding for this requirement” Dalton said. “Otherwise the road would have to be funded and built by the school.”

    I think the quote by Keith says it all.
    Do it NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. My 2 Cents... says:

    I agree with you Mr. Armacost. Why is it that Berryville residents for the most part complain about darn near everything? This is a win-win!

  3. livein22611 says:

    “Dalton also said that Mosby Boulevard will alleviate traffic pressure in downtown Berryville where traffic patterns are much more difficult to modify.”
    Really?! Traffic pressure in DOWNTOWN Berryville? Okay, maybe once a month I get caught in some freak traffic and don’t make it through the metropolitan area of Berryville on the first green light. Maybe.
    “Kirby said. “This completes the bypass plan for Berryville’s northwest quadrant.””
    Thank heavens we will now have a bypass around DOWNTOWN Berryville so we can avoid the businesses there. That’s a great goal there boys. Way to go. Great planning. Now, let’s complain when another business DOWNTOWN closes.
    This is not town management–but a town dictatorship. Why in the world do we need to bypass anything in Berryville?

  4. So, the “plan” calls for diverting traffic AWAY from downtown? I thought the idea was to get people to come downtown?

    And these diversions are going to be through residental neighborhoods? Anyone seen how the average commuter drives? I mean, I could understand doing warp speed to get home, but people do warp speed to go to work as well. They sure must love their jobs.

    And you’re “planning” to divert that traffic into neighborhoods where kids play?

    In this case, “planning” sounds like an oxymoron

    • Sharon Strickland says:

      Sarge – thank you for your words. As the President of the Battlefield Estates Civic Association, I have represented the worried families that live here and especially those with children living along Mosby. I have three grandchildren that are with me daily and I am already yelling at cars to slow down.

      Where is the request for a four way stop sign at the corners of Early and Mosby? Don’t see it or have not heard is discussed. Just watch as our own neighbors go straight through the other two stop signs. A California slide happens by the minute.

      Personally, I have never seen the logic in turning traffic away from a Main Street community. Why have a Main Street? Mostly, I fear the death of a resident. We have children in our neighborhood and all lifestyles will have to change once the town gets traffic flowing through a very quiet neighborhood. Barbara Byrd asks the status of traffic calming? Just where are the plans for the traffic calming on Mosby. As President, I have been active in council meetings and am just sad that most of the council members do not hear the residents truly speak about safety issues. Come on — we are discussing human life here. Sarge, I live on the corner of Early and Mosby. Sit on my front veranda and watch the cars flying up and down Mosby. It is not nice. I fear the loss of life once the road is opened to anyone wanting to miss a traffic light in town to just get over to Main Street.

  5. It is just a bigger shortcut to get to Rt. 340 or the Food Lion. Before Echolsville was built people would cut down Dorsey St. to Walnut St. and then to 340. Really no big difference. It will serve basically the same purpose as the street cutting through the Hermitage to 340. When was the last kid hit in that neighborhood?

  6. Local residents utilize any road they can to make their trips shorter and will visit “Downtown Berryville” if they are to make a purchase.

    State funding is an avenue we should not miss.

    The fire safety factor is vital for everyone.

    The reason we need the new school is from all of the subdivisions built.

    Just because “we were here first” does not mean we can stop the process or progress. We rely on our representatives to make educated decisions. Investigate alternatives used in other counties. They have already been there and expended funds for studies. Express your findings to your representative.

    Commuters are coming to and from these subdivisions. If you are concerned about speeding or improper driving then contact the proper officials.

    Comments are easy to make but action to improve a situation(s) is certainly harder.

    • You must be a Winchester [redacted] reader. Here’s some counterpoints from the view on the ground:

      “Local residents utilize any road they can to make their trips shorter and will visit “Downtown Berryville” if they are to make a purchase.”

      The traffic studies clearly demonstrated that this road will not make the trip from any direction shorter or clear any congestion points

      “State funding is an avenue we should not miss.”

      Misusing state funding for frivolous projects our configuring a project to misappropriate funds is called “pork barrel spending”

      “The fire safety factor is vital for everyone.”

      Too silly to even address. Not that fire safety is silly but the logic used to defend it as a fire safety issue is a joke.

      “The reason we need the new school is from all of the subdivisions built.”

      No one has ever contested the building of the new school. It has been used as a poker chip by politicians who have an eye on a road that no one wants.

      “Just because “we were here first” does not mean we can stop the process or progress.  We rely on our representatives to make educated decisions. Investigate alternatives used in other counties.  They have already been there and expended funds for studies. Express your findings to your representative.”

      When a petition that shows the majority of the residents of Battlefield Estates do not want Mosby Boulevard used as the main entrance for the proposed high school is ignored, representation has become questionable. Furthermore the idea of “we were here first” is more aptly applied to the ill conceived BADA plan for Berryville then any other issue in the discussion. Their refusal or inability to update a plan to the new conditions leaves one to wonder what the real reasons behind the road are.

      “Commuters are coming to and from these subdivisions.  If you are concerned about speeding or improper driving then contact the proper officials.”

      Commuters yes, but intentionally directing teenage drivers that insurance companies rightly identify as the most dangerous drivers on the roads through a neighborhood is irresponsible and indefensible.
        

      “Comments are easy to make but action to improve a situation(s) is certainly harder.”

      When “representatives” refuse to listen because their plans have become their gospel and are unwilling to listen to citizens and changing situations, citizens will use whatever methods is available to make their voices heard

      • David,
        Very proud to say, that I am a Clarke resident for over 36 years with family dating prior to 1800’s. My history and heart is in Clarke County.

        Traffic studies are good but I observe people (including myself) drop off Rt. 7 and “cut thru” Battlefield Estates going to the grocery store. I mostly to observe landscape designs to acquire new ideas and enjoy seasonal decoration. Many times, other vehicles are behind me all the way. Their reason for travel? I of course, would not know however with their bumper so close to mine the speed limit clearly does not meet with their approval as they turn into the grocery parking lot.

        As to “pork barrel spending” it is a subject all to itself. As to misuse or misappropriate state funding, I will not comment except, those are harsh words. I have seen parts of Rt. 7 resurfaced when I did not see the need however I am not a road engineer so again, we rely on experts in their field.

        Fire safety is not silly. Access to homes that are built so close is vital. You must not have seen the struggle our volunteer companies go thru with the large trucks to gain safe access to fight a house fire. Newer subdivisions are designed to have the width necessary for all vehicles including fire apparatus. To have an alternate entrance or exit for homeowners and firefighters is good planning.

        Petitions are a good avenue for residents to present their concerns so perhaps the adage should have been “Not in my backyard”. I have without question; found that people, not petitions, impact meetings. It is very easy to look at numbers on a sheet, smile then dismiss. People can be smiled at but they can’t be dismissed. They require attention, to be heard and answers are expected.

        Agreed, teenage drivers are higher risk due do to their inexperience, tendency to show off and immaturity to understand that you “can’t take it back” without high costs. Does it smack of irresponsibility to intentionally direct these drivers through a neighborhood? I don’t think irresponsibility is the correct word and there is another direction of travel. Perhaps the School Board can address how their young drivers are to enter/exit the school or lose their privileges.

        Other options or avenues may be directed to the school board at an appropriate time. When I attended school, you were allowed to drive only if you had a job and were to leave school and drive directly there. Plus, it cost $25 for the school year. Now, I’m not sure what the criteria is to drive to school and I did not find it on their website. (Did I miss? Let me know).

        The right to have an opinion and share in public is one of the reasons the USA is the greatest place to live. I hope you and others that feel they are negatively impacted by our officials decisions keep working to accomplish your goals, making your part of Clarke County a better place to live.

        • Snowcat says “Traffic studies are good but I observe people (including myself) drop off Rt. 7 and “cut thru” Battlefield Estates going to the grocery store.”

          You are absolutely correct in your observation that people cut through Battlefield Estates to get to Food Lion. What you fail to realize is the extension of Mosby will not change the path those cut through trips take. The study clearly showed that the majority of the cut through traffic comes off Hermitage on to Jackson. Most people “dropping off Roue 7” do so at the exit at Food Lion even when traveling East. Adding Mosby will not change this. In fact if you look at the road on the map, anyone, trained or otherwise can see that it will create no new shortcut from anywhere other than perhaps from Hobert Park to Food Lion and I hardly think that merits a 3 million dollar 1/2 mile long road.

          The real issue is that the town put this on the books as a project and has used any possible way of justifying it, even as every real reason slips away. It makes them look silly and even VDOT has had to amend the purpose for the road to “providing a safe and efficient entrance for the new high school.” What was it before the school was sited on the property? It smacks of dishonesty when officials try to game their way through justification and it’s offensive when they believe that we will all fall for it. Unfortunately most do because they fail to pay attention.

          Snowcat says “Fire safety is not silly. Access to homes that are built so close is vital. You must not have seen the struggle our volunteer companies go thru with the large trucks to gain safe access to fight a house fire. Newer subdivisions are designed to have the width necessary for all vehicles including fire apparatus.”

          I made it clear that fire safety is not silly, but that the logic used to buttress the position that the road is needed for fire safety is silly and you reaffirmed that by attempting to defend your position with a non-sequitur. How will the extension of Mosby help the width necessary for all vehicles to access existing homes? The answer is, it won’t. The portion of Mosby that feeds the homes in question now is wider than the proposed 2 lane wide extension. It is another example of grasping at threads to try to support a position that has no merit. As far as a second entrance to the neighborhood, there are many existing in the town already without a second entrance, some with greater density beyond the “choke point” than Battlefield Estates, that the town is not clamoring to rectify. It is opportunistic and thin justification.

          Snowcat says “I have without question; found that people, not petitions, impact meetings. It is very easy to look at numbers on a sheet, smile then dismiss. People can be smiled at but they can’t be dismissed. They require attention, to be heard and answers are expected.”

          Are you familiar with the public hearing process? It is the most frustrating, pointless aspect of local government I have ever witnessed. I would contend that your position that people are harder to dismiss than numbers is backwards. Citizens are regularly dismissed at public hearings. The public hearing does not allow citizens to ask questions and get answers from public bodies. It is expressly forbidden. Those that wish to be heard may simply say their peace, one after another as government officials quietly nod their heads. When everyone has had their say, the session is closed and the body continues along its merry path without having to respond to a single issue raised by the public. It is a waste of time and unfortunately the public has come to realize. How many times do you see in this paper that no one spoke at a public hearing. Why? Because it is pointless. There is no format to make politicians answer tough questions and we are in sore need of some mechanism to make them do it in a public way. There is no accountability and very few places to get a straight answer.