Lexington Drive | Route 7 View

View of Route 7 and Lexington Drive during signal change.

Customers have been able to access Blue Mount Nursery in Ashburn for nearly 30 years by exiting off Route 7 to Lexington Drive.

However, that could soon change as the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors mull over closing access points and decommissioning the traffic light at the intersection.

The move, if approved, would impact commuters and local residents and businesses.

Blue Mount Nursery co-owner Frank Maruca was unaware of the proposal until a Times-Mirror reporter contacted him for comment. In an interview, he expressed his discontent.

“Am I concerned?” Maruca said. “Yeah, we’re really concerned, because we believe that within a matter of a year or two, if we don’t figure out how to adjust, we could go out of business, and I believe the county doesn’t care about that. They don’t want us here. They never have.”

The Board of Supervisors is expected to take action July 18 on closing the access points from Lexington Drive to Route 7 and decommissioning the traffic light from the intersection.

Last week, the board deferred action until representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation can be present. One of the options is for VDOT to begin the process, which could start as early as September or October, according to county staff.

If the board’s resolution “as an exercise in police power for the betterment of the health, safety, morals and the general welfare of its citizens” is approved, two nearby exits off of Route 7 (Harry Byrd Highway) would be at the interchanges of Ashburn Village Boulevard and Loudoun County Parkway.

“It’s a limited amount of cars that would be affected versus the hundreds and thousands that are affected every day when they get caught at that traffic light,” said Raphael Jeu, who frequently travels through the intersection.

Focused on the “severe traffic congestion” during rush hours, an online petition was created in favor of closing the traffic light. Although the petition has rounded up dozens of signatures, multiple users on social media have been engaged with the issue.

One idea was to allow traffic to continue turning right in and out of Riverside Drive and Lexington Drive, but close down the ability to turn left in any direction.

Maruca said he is not opposed to the board’s action. One of his requests is for the county to complete the extension of Lexington Drive to Loudoun County Parkway on the north side of Route 7.

The specific Riverside Parkway project that Marcua is referring to includes construction of a four-lane divided road segment between Loudoun County Parkway and Lexington Drive, a new Loudoun Water main along Smith Circle and a temporary traffic signal at Loudoun County Parkway and George Washington Boulevard, according to county capital projects records.

Recently, the project was delayed as a result of utility relocation, according to the county. The start of construction is to be determined.

“What they need to do is complete Riverside Parkway like they promised,” Maruca said.

The nursery owner said he is also concerned about the impact on the nursery and its nearly 30 employees, including 15 to 17 full-time employees, most of which live locally and few that have worked there for nearly 20 years.

AmericanHort Advocacy and Research Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge discussed nurseries' impacts on their communities. AmericanHort is a national advocate for the horticulture industry.

“Businesses with a direct consumer-facing aspect -- retail -- face special challenges, with hyper-competition and compression of margins,” Regelbrugge said in an email. “Good visibility and access are key conditions for success, so from what you describe, it sounds like the business in question has a very legitimate concern about loss of access being a potential death knell.”

Regelbrugge said the industry is still dominated by small and family-owned businesses and described the businesses as "the fabric of communities." He said such businesses provide consumers with knowledge and a diverse plant selection that are rarely, if ever, duplicated in mass retail environments.

Lexington Drive | Aerial View 1

Aerial of Lexington Drive and Loudoun County Parkway.

Maruca believes the number of nurseries is declining, and he doesn’t want to be part of the statistic.

"It’s not only Loudoun County, it’s Fairfax, its Fauquier, its every place—they don’t want nurseries and it’s hard to understand that,” Maruca said. “We are a piece of the community. We have stuff that can’t find any place and they don’t get that because they want office space, apartment buildings, they want tax dollars and that’s what they are all about.”

No timetable has been set when the Riverside Parkway extension would begin. The extension has been projected to be completed by the fall of 2021, according to Public Affairs and Communications Officer Glen Barbour, adding that many variables could impact the construction schedule.

Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R), who represents the district, was in favor of deferring the matter until July 18. She hoped to ask questions about emergency access.

In response to the impact of decommissioning the traffic signal and closing the access points, Volpe said it was premature to comment prior to the board taking action.

Forty-seven crashes have occurred at the intersection since 2015, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. None of them were fatal.

***

Crashes at the intersection of Route 7 and Lexington Drive:

2019: 3 crashes

2018: 13 crashes

2017: 11 crashes

2016: 7 crashes

2015: 13 crashes

Lexington Drive | Sign

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors are considering to decommission to the traffic light at Lexington Drive.

Lexington Drive | Aerial View 2

Aerial of Lexington Drive and Route 7. Loudoun supervisors are considering decommissioning the traffic signal.

(28) comments

SaltLife

Get rid of the light at Lexington. There are many other ways for people to approach the nursery. Figure it out.

More Cowbell

And to think, the next BOS will get a huge raise voted in by the current disgraced BOS. The ones that can't make a simple decision on traffic light but can spend spend spend and allow developers to build 1000s of more housing from original plans.

swampfiller

Keep the light. Loudoun deserves it. Every governor since Harry Byrd has made sure that N VA does not get its fair share of road money nor any tax money. Since you like to vote for these fine governors, it's your fault for any transportation problems. Don't blame VDOT. They had better close the cross over or the hospital is going to get a substantial increase in business. I solved the problem by moving to Tennessee on Monday, where there are not a bunch of hate filled socialists and crazy people threatening you with the thought police.

MAGA Morons Are Governing America

Please share your thoughts with Tennessee from now on..

kp91

Well, my detailed reply got edited by the page owner, I'll try again with a one statement summary. The inaction by the board of supervisors, delaying this light closure by 18 months, will net the tax paying citizens of Loudoun County 1,800,000 hours of traffic at this intersection. I had the math laid out in my comment that was suppressed.

BobP

This is hilarious. Mark Witt tries to maintain Frank has nothing to do with the business yet the press contacts him and he comments on the business' behalf. Maybe if he were kinder to his neighbors, blessings would come upon him. This business needs to be shut down with his ridiculous threats, lawsuits and dumping toxic sludge on his neighbors.

PoorUnfortunateSoul

Can't they just create a direct access point from 7 into the nursery, like the one down 7 in Leesburg? if not, I don't see the big deal of having to access it off of Loudoun County Parkway - you'll still see the nursery from Rte 7, and I doubt that many people make a split second decision to turn on to Lexington when they see it. For anyone planning to go, I also doubt that having to go onto Loudoun County Parkway instead of Lexington would cause them not to go.

Simon

When thousands are affected every day, we cannot let one business owner decide what happens to the majority. I’m sorry he thinks he will be impacted, but he will have to figure it out. We cannot be held hostage to one business.

kp91

The Loudoun County Supervisors have failed the citizens by their inactivity on this light closure. Millions of dollars were spent to remove lights at Belmont Ridge and Ashburn Crossing in an effort to improve Route 7 traffic through this corridor, and 18 months after opening, I am still using side streets to avoid Route 7 traffic because of this specific light. Why this light, which can be removed within a couple of days, wasn't part of a years long plan for the other two intersections is an epic planning failure. I sent an email to Ron Meyer about this, and his response is that this was caught up in typical board of supervisors red tape. I totaled up what the lost time by citizens by this inaction was, using VDOT published 2018 Annual Average Daily Traffic volumes of 93,000 cars per day and 5 minutes delay, and cutting the AADT number in half for just the eastbound morning traffic, so 46,500, and degrading that to 30,000 for peak traffic in the morning. The total over a 9 month period for eastbound traffic ONLY - 150,000 minutes of traffic each way, 27,000,000 minutes over 9 months (5 days per week), 450,000 hours of lost time by tax-paying Loudoun citizens. In labor time, this is equivalent to 216 years of 40 hour per week labor over a 9 month period. Now we are looking at 18 months, so double that to 432 years, and add in westbound delays and we are at a staggering 864 years of lost labor, or more realistically 1,800,000 hours of extra traffic due to inaction by the board. Thanks for serving the public, can't wait to vote these people out of office.

hobbes

Guess what, i will make sure I tell anyone and everyone the reason not to buy anything from this place, and that's because they are holding up the removal of the light. If that is the case, embrace this change make it something for the positive. It'll be fairly easy to still get to your place. They will be fine. I will not but a tree/anything from here due to their wining about the obvious needed removal of the light.

Djfmer

Family business for 30 years. If this was a data center access you can bet your sweet bippie there would be an overpass built over route 7. The Loudoun BOS is all for development interests and commuter pass through traffic. Anything to do with agriculture, farming, horticulture, or small business is given lip service by the BOS. if the commute is a problem, then move.

applicant45554

It would be three degrees cooler outside were it not for the emissions generated at this light over the last few years. Cancer could have been cured with the lost man hours. We did get good potted plants, though, so thank you Bluemont Nursery.

David Dickinson

This is a no-brainer. Turn off the light TODAY!

KH

The light has to go, its a choke-point and should of been removed long ago. No disrespect to the nursery but this is about the great good on the citizens who commute Route 7 daily and it's a no brainier.

KSmith34

I don't see how there is even anything to vote on. That light should've been removed when the Leesburg Village overpass was completed. Still there...then the Belmont Ridge overpass opened. Still the raggedy Lexington light. The other two intersection benefits basically ruined because of it. It's gotta go. Sorry to the nursery but they could always move. I don't care about politics. I want to get home and sit in as little traffic as possible....

margegeneverra

Rt 7 should be a limited access highway with parallel service roads for businesses. Highways are built this way in most states. Why VDOT ignores this is a mystery.

More Cowbell

This light should have been removed when Loudoun County Parkway bridge was installed. Actually, the light never should have been put up. VDOT is a joke. How about turning lights in front of Schools to blinking Yellow when not in session?

Duncan Idaho

Bluemount owner needs to see the big picture. We always get our Christmas tree from Bluemount, and will continue to do so...unless the owner continues to be such a crybaby!

LoudounClear

The owner of this store has a long history of supporting Republican supervisors. Ever wonder why it's so close to Route 7 when everyone else has to observe setbacks of 500 feet? Owner of Blue Mount gave a lot of money to Dale Polen Myers and she took care of him. Let's remove this light and let this pro-capitalist, ultra-conservative see if he can make it in a free and open market environment!

axelf

The property owners fought tooth and nail to not allow Riverside parkway to be completed. It wasn't until the county invoked eminent domain and won in court did the plans to build the roadway restart. Thousands of motorists spend thousands of hours at that light daily. Right in and Right out makes sense and should be done as soon as possible.

leemanva

Why is this light still there after opening Loudoun County and Clairborne Parkway overpasses? Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on Route 7 and Route 28 overpasses to remove traffic congestion. The light is there at this point to benefit the few at the cost of the many. How many vehicles turn at this light compared to the number that pass straight through? The nursery has a access road at this point. Please remove this light.

John Simpson

This should've been done six months ago. The Riverside Pkwy extension already exists. The only thing missing is a final layer of asphalt. It's completely usable as-is. This light at Lexington is a major contributing factor to the westbound backup from Battlefield Pkwy every afternoon. This causes massive waves of traffic which arrive at Battlefield all at once, rather than a natural flow of vehicles from Rt 7 and Rt 28.

LoCoTransplant

I can see removing the light definitely would help in the morning with the eastbound traffic. Westbound in the afternoon is a different story, especially if you're heading on 7 past Leesburg. Anyone notice that since the lights at Ashburn Village and Belmont Ridge have been removed, the backups at Battlefield Parkway and the 7 Bypass ramps are getting worse? Before, the lights at least helped space out the traffic going westbound. Now it's just making things more congested in Leesburg. The county commissioners and VADOT really need to rethink the whole 7 Bypass in for things to get better. A 1-lane bypass exit ramp? Followed immediately by the Greenway merging in and then the Rt 15 exits? It's a mess!

hobbes

Lights for battlefield and the following light are scheduled to be removed soon as well. The businesses are fighting the light removal at the one near the car dealers in leesburg as well. Battlefield intersection should have initially been an overpass when they built it, now it will cost tons more $$ because they didn't do it right the first time. I believe construction starts this fall for that intersection.

WesternSky

Yes. Close the intersection ASAP.

BobOhneiserEsq

Tear down that light! It is absurd to impede thousands of commuters per hour when there are two major turnaround capable overpasses within hundreds of yards of this light. Battlefield parkway light is next to go!

LoudounSucks

#savebluemont

cstepp80

I understand the concern from the business owner, but this light has to go. It is the root cause for delays extending as far back as Wegman's in the mornings and as far back as Route 28 in the evenings.

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