Herndon The Herndon Town Council will hold a public hearing on plans for ways to make the intersection of Park Avenue and Monroe Street on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Ingram Council Chambers. The angles and elevations of the intersection have made it a priority for the town for years.
The Department of Public Works was asked to examine cost estimates and project alternatives (such as a four-way stop), as well as traffic counts. Town Director of Public Works Bob Boxer presented possible designs at the council’s Jan. 24 public session.
The Department of Public Works took recent 24-hour traffic counts in the middle of January in order to update the counts that were taken in 2009 when the project was first proposed.
"We confirmed two things: that the peak traffic hours in the morning are typically between 8 and 10 [a.m.] and in the evening between 5 and 7 [p.m.], and we confirmed the volume through the intersection remained essentially the same as it was in 2009," Boxer said. "Essentially it’s somewhere between 8,400 and 8,700 vehicles a day."
Boxer said the foremost goal of any plan is the safety of pedestrians. When the idea was first presented last year, many residents inquired as to the possibility of a four-way stop sign at the intersection, but Boxer said the conditions for such a stop sign do not exist at the intersection.
"This had been looked at several times by our engineers," he said. "One of the things we found was that traffic volumes should be approximately equal when you’re looking at an intersection with a four-way stop. The traffic volumes here, on the main road versus the minor road, are approximately doubled."
Boxer also said at least five accidents in a 12-month period would serve as another indication of need for a four-way stop, but there have only been eight accidents recorded in the last five years.
He also said conditions for a traffic signal "do not meet sufficient vehicle volumes" to warrant one.
"It’s a bad intersection that we’re trying to make better with what we think are good engineering practices," Boxer said. "Taking the skew out of this intersection is something that needs to be done."
Councilmember Jasbinder Singh said he had spoken with several residents on the north side of Monroe Street who are in favor of keeping the intersection as is.
"As we talked with people, they said they want to maintain the current alignment," he said. "They say they’re familiar with the road, it presents no issues for them."
Other locals feel it’s about time the intersection was re-examined.
"It’s been a safety hazard for years, and downright awful during most rush hours, especially if you’re taking any sort of left. But even if you’re taking a right, sometimes you’re going across a lane of traffic," said Daniel Boost of Herndon, who lives nearby. "I know they’ve been working on it for a while, but I’m anxious to see a plan get implemented."
The Town Council voted 4-3 at their Jan. 24 meeting to continue the public hearing to Feb. 14. More information on the plans can be found at www.herndon-va.gov.