A temporary solution has been found for a traffic safety problem in a section of Ashburn Station Place.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to designate the thoroughfare from Crest Way to Hay Road as temporarily one-way, sending traffic northbound. The majority of the supervisors also agreed to conduct another traffic study on the road after Claiborne Parkway is constructed over the W&OD Trail in two or three years. The parkway is expected to alleviate the traffic congestion that has endangered pedestrians.
During the debate over how to solve the safety issue, the board learned that the Sheriff’s Office no longer uses radar on that stretch of road. Captain David Domin said deputies generally do not issue tickets if someone is driving five or 10 miles over the speed limit. “It’s not practical for us to write a ticket for speed, because … the judges generally toss them out.”
Supervisors Bruce Tulloch (Potomac Falls), Eugene Delgaudio (Sterling) and Stephen Snow (Dulles) voted against making the road one-way. Tulloch said that proposal created a greater hazard. He suggested limiting access during certain times of day instead. A similar solution was used on a road in Vienna, where he grew up.
SNOW FAVORED sending the proposal back to the Transportation Committee for reconsideration. “We’re taking one safety issue and transferring it,” he said.
Delgaudio agreed. “I have a problem. This is being rushed into. … We could use a little more work on this.”
Waters, whose district includes the two roads and the 38 homes in that section of the Ashburn Station Place, said cut-through traffic is a major safety problem. She conceded the solution is not a fix-all for the many traffic woes in old Ashburn. “We’re still working on these other safety issues."
Dewberry and Davis conducted a study of traffic entering and leaving the subdivision. It showed 59 of the 99 vehicles cut through during the morning peak traffic hour and 55 of 96 during the early evening peak hour. “The Sheriff’s Office said the volumes were about 20 percent higher than the consultant,” she added. “The biggest issue is the children trying to get to the school bus. There are no sidewalks. There is no safe place for them.”
THE BOARD’S Transportation Committee considered six alternatives before agreeing to the temporary measure. Among the measures were one to permanently turn the street into a cul de sac. The supervisors rejected this idea, saying they will revisit the situation after the parkway is built.
Dale Myers, who lives on the road, spoke against the proposal while Lynn Barra and Nick Nacov, who share a home in Ashburn Station Place, voiced their support.
Myers, with a catch in her voice, said two children were killed in car crashes on Hay Road. “So you see Mrs. Waters, this is about ‘children’s safety.’” Traffic studies show that accidents have involved children running from parked cars. Yet there aren’t any "no parking" signs on the side of the road.
Myers said there is no magical wand to solve the traffic problem. She recommended sending the proposal back to the Transportation Committee to consider closing Hay Road at the intersection of Hay Road and Ashburn Road. She also suggested inviting residents to help solve the problem.
“The solution should be one that brings the community together, not divide it into ‘them and us,’ which is what has now happened with this process,” she said.
Barra and Nacov said making the road one way is the right solution. Barra said she doesn’t believe she should have to go out and get her mail and worry about being run over by teenagers or soccer Moms late for practice. “I’ve seen moms in mini vans. They don’t even stop at the stop sign. They just barrel through the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s a safety issue for everyone in the neighborhood.”
Navoc said, “We’re looking for a simple straightforward solution … to eliminate a very dangerous situation.”
Waters said citizens have wrongly set up orange construction cones to block the street. The temporary solution should help until Claiborne Parkway is built. “At least we can avoid a road rage incident or a fight on this side of this road,” she said.