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Meyer, Buona reconsider $30 million Farmwell Road widening project

After an outpouring of opposition from Ashburn residents, Loudoun supervisors have agreed to reconsider a nearly $30 million road widening project on Farmwell Road, which was intended to relieve congestion in the busy area.

Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run), who represent parts of Ashburn, announced Tuesday they intend to formally ask the Board of Supervisors to amend a project that would have widened the current four-lane Farmwell Road to a six-lane “urban major collector” from Smith Switch Road to Ashburn Road.

The decision comes after months of push-back from the Ashburn community. Many residents said the road widening would have caused a number of safety concerns and
increased traffic.

More than 200 people recently attended a public meeting on the Farmwell widening project, mostly to voice opposition to the proposal.

Instead of widening Farmwell Road, Meyer and Buona said they have asked county staff develop a new plan to improve the flow of traffic on the road.

The improvements will include constructing “major fixes” to the intersections at Ashburn Road, Ashburn Village Boulevard and Smith Switch Road; building pedestrian and bike paths on Farmwell Road; and looking into future ways to accelerate funding for projects to alleviate congestion in the area.

Daniel Eisert, an Ashburn Village resident who has been a vocal critic of the widening, said he thinks the board members' announcement is a good compromise for both commuters and those living in the area.

“I think [the plan] will be very effective in improving traffic while also not encroaching on a lot of residents and compromising people’s safety,” Eisert said.

Meyer, who has remained a strong advocate for extending Shellhorn Road, maintains that the best alternative to making Farmwell and Waxpool Road less congested is by allowing residents to drive on Shellhorn.

“My constituents spoke clearly: They want us to prioritize building new roads like Shellhorn Road and Prentice Drive rather than widening Farmwell Road,” Meyer said in a statement. “These changes show the board is listening to residents and addressing congestion without changing long-established neighborhoods.”

Buona initially was in favor of the Farmwell Road widening, but he later said he decided to compromise with residents.

"In my six years on the board, our county is building and expanding roads faster than ever before,”Buona said in a statement. “This project shows we can be responsive while still addressing the core concerns of our community.”

The supervisors said county staff will be working to bring their plan to the Board of Supervisors as soon as possible, but do not yet have an exact timeline on when the new plan will be presented.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.

Comments


Adding extra lanes doesn’t always help and after a certain point can even be negative.

In this case, by widening from 2 to 3 in each direction, that means you no longer would have left-turn-yield-on-green options, as [I’m pretty sure] VDOT forces those left turn signals to be red or explicit arrow when turning across 3 lanes of oncoming traffic.

Maybe at peak rush hour that’s not a big of an issue, but can be very frustrating and inhibiting of traffic at most other times. Similarly for double left turn lanes - no yield on green.

So not only do these turners have to wait a full extra cycle, but oncoming traffic may get stopped waiting for their left-arrow cycle, whereas otherwise they would have turned earlier and wouldn’t even need it.


Why does Farmwell need to be widened when people can use Gloucester as an alternate route to 28?

Widening Farmwell just signals to developers that tax payers are funding free infrastructure expansion and to snap up real estate along the road and build more residential units. A decade later, Farmwell just ends up clogged with traffic again.


Weak leadership from meyer and buona…is the election coming up or something?  next time you are stuck in traffic on waxpool you can thank the supervisors who just voted themselves a 62% salary increase…


I live close to the proposed widening and I’m disappointed in it not going forward. Yes, it will negatively affect some but it would be for the better of the majority. Here we are being short sighted about this. Sycolin Road will be widened, more developments will be built along Sycolin and further west. The Metro is coming. How are all of the people from Sycolin Road and West going to get to the Metro and to Reston and further East - WAXPOOL ROAD. 10 years from now the same people complaining about Waxpool being widened will be complaining about the traffic on Waxpool. I urge the BOS to continue with this project and the Shellhorn Project. These should not be independent of each other.


I would have attended but was stuck in traffic…


Haven’t these supervisors learned that 80-90% of people attending these meetings are going to be against something.  So a couple hundred people get to decide for the thousands that have to sit in traffic, sounds logical.  Road needs to be widen.


Shellhorn Road and Prentice Drive need to be built out in addition to adding the lanes on Farmwell not instead of adding them.


Kingpin, Texas has tons of service roads. I never understood why Virginia does not.


If you’re truly interested in reducing congestion, building more roads/lanes accomplishes the EXACT opposite. Single occupant vehicles are the most inefficient and ineffective method to move people. If you want to reduce congestion, then you have to take single occupant vehicles off the road by introducing mass transit at or near the highest population centers.

Induced Demand, occurs when you increase access to something and it only increases the demand. Go to youtube and you can watch a video from MIT that explains all about it. Of course if you don’t think MIT is worth at least a few minutes of your time, there’s also a Wikipedia article on that topic if you like to learn something new. Widening roads don’t remove cars from the roads, it only encourages more people to drive.


Great what better way to reduce traffic and get rid of the bottle neck than nix adding a lane.  I am sure by adding bicycle and pedestrian paths along the road will do wonders for those sitting in traffic.  The folks in Ashburn will love being able to walk and bike to the nearest data center and strip mall.  30 million today or 60 million down the road.


Just a reminder, we are not out of the woods yet. Words are words, but the proof is in the action that will come about.


A whole lot of good could be accomplished for less than #30M. “Staff” must be giddy, allowed to open their design manuals and think outside the box. Here are some observations from other places in this country.
- Service lanes (well, you don’t have to look much farther than Sugarland Crossing, Rt. 7 in Sterling; for some reason, they were never perpetuated anywhere else to my knowledge).
- Medians and right-in/right-out with accel/decel lanes.
- protected (hooded) left U-turns in the medians to allow left turn movements mid-block from those right-out only locations, totally alleviating the need for left-turns AT the intersections.
- separate ROW right-turn one-way roadways that allow Right turns to bleed off well before the intersection, and blend back into moving traffic past the intersection. See the right-turn lanes at the clover-leaf interchanges.


Thanks a lot, NIMBYites

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