Councilman Bobby Ryanâ??s frustration showed at a Tuesday afternoon town committee meeting following three years of study and taxpayer money spent dealing with speeding and cut-through traffic problems voiced by residents of the Madison Grove neighborhood.
The town spent $32,000 for a traffic study dealing with cut-through traffic in Madison Grove mainly using Burgandine Avenue to and from Ira Hoffman Lane as a shortcut to a shopping center and Loweâ??s along Montanus Drive.
â??I am not willing to spend any more money at this point,â? said Ryan. â??VDOT said leave it open.â?
Several neighborhood residents wanted Burgandine Avenue closed to traffic at Ira Hoffman Lane, but a divided town council voted narrowly 5-4 to nix that idea.
Since then, Madison Grove residents Charles Malsz and Rick Fields, proponents for closing Burgandine Avenue, have submitted several alternative plans, including prohibiting left turns from Ira Hoffman Lane onto Burgandine Avenue or making Burgandine Avenue one-way at its intersection with Ira Hoffman Lane. Some of the alternative traffic calming measures do not meet VDOT standards, according to the town and cannot be implemented.
â??Transportation networks are supposed to allow for traffic movement and not restrict it,â? said Councilman Pranas Rimeikis.
Councilman Keith Price was inclined to leave Burgandine Road open.
â??We had a staff proposal,â? said Price, about alternative traffic calming measures. â??It might be worth looking at again.â?
Rimeikis, who lives on South East Street, said he is familiar with cut-through traffic. At one point, he said 5,000 cars travel his street to cut through town. The Madison Grove traffic study showed 2,700 vehicles per day in the subdivision.
â??I dream of the day of 2,700,â? said Rimeikis.
The veteran councilman said that beside East Street, West Street, Blue Ridge Avenue and Laurel Street all face cut-through traffic.
Rimeikis said traffic calming measures have been implemented successfully in other neighborhoods, mentioning four-way stop signs on Virginia Avenue. He said the town staff identified and handled those problems.
â??I am tired at looking at proposals from unqualified sources,â? said Rimeikis, noting the townâ??s staff, VDOT and the townâ??s engineering consultant are all qualified.
Rimeikis suggested that staff be allowed to solve the problem without further interference from town council.
Public Services Director Jim Hoy said usually the town staff works with HOAs or management companies to solve neighborhood traffic issues. Hoy said council is notified of those changes after they occur. He used the case in point of a new four-way stop sign on Old Fredericksburg Road and Wolford Street.
Town Manager Chris Hively said the town staff normally meets with people most affected by traffic changes before any changes are made.
With the figure of up to $30,000 possibly being spent on traffic calming measures without council approval, Ryan was adamant that he wanted to know any costs associated with traffic calming measures in Madison Grove before budgeted money is spent.
The committee voted 3-1 to have the town staff bring cost estimates to the committee before making any traffic calming changes in Madison Grove. Councilman Jon Russell, the committee chairman, voted against the measure.
Wally Bunker is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org