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The following calendar is for local government meetings and downtown events that have been approved or sponsored by the town. For a comprehensive listing of special events in Blacksburg, or to post your own event to a community calendar visit stepintoblacksburg.org.

Traffic Committee Meeting

Traffic Committee Meeting Agenda – February 5, 2019 

The Town of Blacksburg Traffic Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Training Room at Blacksburg Police Department, 200 Clay Street, S.W. in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

Citizens are always provided the opportunity to voice their views/concerns regarding any item before the Committee.  It is the policy of the Traffic Committee to move the agenda item to the beginning of the meeting when citizens are in attendance to avoid detaining guests for the entire meeting.  However, citizens are always welcome to stay for the full meeting. 

 

Financial Update:

                   

Capital Project:  C10412 (820-3101-852.70-99)

 

  • Current Available Funding:$26,519.60

(balance available to spend in this project to date)

 

  • Current Encumbrances:
  • $8,148.72 - Intersection Study for BMS on Prices Fork Road

                                                                         (Requisition date: 11/13/18)

 

Old Business:

 

  1. A request has been received from Lynn Smith regarding his concern for safety at the intersection of Broce Drive and Scott Alan Circle.  He feels that cars coming off the hill on Broce Drive heading towards Scott Alan Circle need a flashing caution light to alert them to traffic coming in and out of Scott Alan Circle.  He describes vehicles traveling quickly off the hill and where Scott Alan is at the bottom of the hill, it makes it dangerous for cars entering and exiting Scott Alan. (Looking left from Scott Alan up the hill on Broce.)He further describes that from Scott Alan looking left up Broce Drive the trees have grown out over the road and they are obstructing the view.He’s requesting that the trees be trimmed ASAP to improve visibility. 

     

    Committee Recommendation from August 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    The Stealthstat Radar Data Collection Unit will be deployed to this location in the coming weeks to assess the potential for a speeding issue.  The unit will survey vehicles traveling from Stonegate down the hill toward Scott Alan.  Extra enforcement action has also been deployed to this area, and Public Works has already conducted some tree trimming and plans to return for further clearing of the vegetation.  This item is most appropriately delegated to the Police Department for enforcement action.  The Stealthstat will give a more accurate view of drivers’ habits and if a problem is detected the mobile speed display unit can possibly be deployed to this location.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

    Committee Recommendation from October 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    The Stealthstat device is continuing to malfunction, and has currently been sent off for repairs.  Other options will be explored going forward for better, more reliable traffic study equipment.  The Police Department is also conducting extra speed enforcement in this area.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

    Committee Recommendation from November 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for December 2018

    The Stealthstat data indicates an acceptable median, but the high end speeds are concerning.  Heavy enforcement has been deployed to this area, and at least one dozen citations have been written to drivers going in excess of 20 mph over the posted speed limit.  The Committee agrees to explore signage options, as well as the possibility of placing the MSDU in this area to increase driver awareness.  Heavy enforcement action will also continue.  Tabled for December 2018

     

    Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    The initial Stealthstat numbers were on the high end in this location, so the Police Department has been conducting heavy enforcement.  Table for February to reassess the data after the students return to get an accurate view of the current situation.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

  2. A concern has been received from Amy Gray regarding her concern for safety on Tom’s Creek Road between Broce Drive and Gilbert Linkous Elementary School.Her correspondence follows:

     

    “Another issue that I’m very concerned with is the amount of traffic and the amount of traffic that is speeding on Tom’s Creek Road between Broce and Gilbert Linkous elementary school. I know that they are planning on building that huge apartment complex in the near future at the intersection of Broce/Toms creek as well as the one at the other end of Broce/university.  This will only cause the speeding and traffic to become increased. Is there anyway that we could put a couple speed bumps on Tom’s Creek Road between that intersection of Broce and toms Creek to GLE? I spoke with the police officer the other day and he told me that every single time he is in that area for traffic stops he always penalizes someone for speeding. I actually feel unsafe walking my son to school. A lot of people walk and a lot of college students (mainly) speed and it’s terrifying. Cars literally slam on their brakes at the blinking signs and we have had some very close calls on that road!”

     

    Committee Recommendation from October 2018 Meeting:  Table for Stealthstat Results

    When the Police Department sits out on extra patrol for an hour or so, a total of 1 to 2 tickets may be written during that time.  Based on the volume of traffic, this is not indicative of a serious issue.  Speeds generally average 28-32 mph for a steady flow of traffic, and not a lot of tickets are issued during the peak times.  Judges typically do not enforce tickets that are anything under 10 mph, and 90% of those receiving tickets will prepay.  Judges will often assign driving school, which is still a valuable lesson learned.  Gilbert Linkous Elementary is on this strand, and the school zone tolerance of course is lower during school hours.  There is a high volume of traffic through this area, which cannot be changed.  It is a natural thoroughfare for students and employees commuting into town.  The Stealthstat data collection unit will be deployed to this location next to get an idea of volumes and speeds.  The infrastructure may be contributing to the terrifying feel of walking in this area because there is no buffer between the traffic and sidewalk and a non-stop traffic volume.  While we can’t control volume, the Police Department will continue to provide extra speed enforcement in this area.  Table for Stealthstat Results

     

    Committee Recommendation from November 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    The Stealthstat schedule is currently backlogged due to the mechanical failure of one of the two units.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

    Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    Three sets of Stealthstat data already exist for this location.  It’s possible the number of cars have

    increased slightly, but it’s unlikely the speeds have changed significantly.  An updated set of data can be obtained once the students return and a Stealthstat unit becomes available.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

  3. A request has been received from Carolyn Johnston to reduce the speed limit in the areas of Harrell, Houston, Warren, and Center Streets.She reports feeding the cats in this area every day and is concerned for the safety of the cats due to the high volume of speeders.

     

    Committee Recommendation from October 2018 Meeting:  Table for Stealthstat Results

    Technically it is illegal to feed feral cats, but aside from that, there will be another 300 students living in this area if the upcoming housing project is approved.  The speed limit here is outside the scope of the rezoning process, but the Committee agrees it’s potentially a good idea to look at lowering it, especially if the new development is approved.  The Committee agrees to deploy the Stealthstat on Center and Harrell Street, and table the item until December for the results since we are currently down one unit.  Table for Stealthstat Results in December 2018

     

    Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    It’s unclear how well the Stealthstat will perform in this area given the layout of short roads and multiple stops.  There’s not significant volume here with the exception of certain times, such as Virginia Tech game day, but a Stealthstat study will be attempted once a unit becomes available and students return to town.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

  4. The Town Manager’s Office has asked the Traffic Committee for input regarding a resident concern on Preston Avenue.Kay Moody, who resides on Preston, has concerns regarding safety on her street.She reports that traffic is increasing in volume and becoming much faster, which is having an adverse effect on her children.

     

    Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

    It’s thought that drivers may trend more to Preston than Draper because Draper has speed bumps.  Planning & Engineering may have knowledge of whether data from previous counts exists, and a Stealthstat study will be requested to establish current data.  Tabled for Stealthstat Results

     

    • Town Council Member Jerry Ford received a couple of traffic concerns from citizens while canvassing for the recent election and has forwarded them to Traffic Committee for consideration.They are as follows (item #5 & #6):

       

  5. A resident on Brook Circle would like to see the speed limit reduced to 15 mph.  It is a one-way residential street.

     

    Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for February 2019

    There is currently parking on one side of the street, and the road width is narrow with an unusual configuration.  It is set forth in the town code that the Town Manager may increase or decrease the speed limit on any street within the town, provided such increase or decrease in speed shall be based upon an engineering and traffic investigation, and provided such speed limit is clearly indicated by markers or signs [Section 12-309(i)].  The Committee has agreed to poll the neighborhood to assess what percentage of residents are in agreement with the reduction, and if the majority agrees, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Town Manager's Office for his consideration.  Tabled for February 2019

     

    *Neighborhood poll materials were mailed to Brook Circle residents on January 9, 2019; responses have been logged and compiled for Traffic Committee review.

     

  6. With the reworking of the North Main Street/460 BYPASS interchange, more traffic is occurring on Sunridge Drive between Chickahominy Drive and Toms Creek.  At certain times of the day, if a car is attempting to turn left onto Toms Creek from Sunridge Drive, a substantial back-up can occur; the resident recommended forbidding left hand turns during the evening rush hour.  This would have the effect of causing cars to continue up Chickahominy Drive, turn right onto Patrick Henry and then have a signal to make the left onto Toms Creek.

 

Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for February 2019

This area has been addressed previously from a different standpoint, and the Committee’s reaction remains the same.  No action was recommended previously because there are other options and alternate routes that drivers can take.  One thought is that the issue lies within drivers trying to avoid the traffic light, when the better choice is to actually use the light.  A great deal of the high volume is likely due to commuter traffic.  The left hand turns could not be limited only during “evening rush hour”, it would have to be either all of the time, or not at all.  This item has come up previously, but there’s not an acceptable, cost efficient solution that wouldn’t have a ripple effect, and it may arise to a greater concern if there weren’t other options only a block away.  There have been a few accidents over the years, but not enough to warrant further action.  A live traffic count can be conducted after the students return from winter break to get an accurate view of the current situation on Sunridge Drive.  Tabled for February 2019

 

New Business:

 

  1. A concern has been received from Scotty Caldwell regarding pedestrian safety on Patrick Henry Drive.He has witnessed several near collisions (pedestrian vs vehicle) in the crosswalks at Seneca and Patrick Henry and Patrick Henry in front of the Village.He requests that Traffic Committee review these locations to see if there is anything that can be done to improve pedestrian safety in these areas.(images)

     

  2. A request has been received via the Town Manager’s Office from Mr. Pinder, who resides at the corner of Airport Road and Rose Avenue (501 Rose Avenue), to develop a solution for issues that he is experiencing on the Airport Road side of his property.He reports that over the years the area along his property on Airport has become “an impromptu parking lot” and the cumulative damage is becoming an esthetic, maintenance, and safety issue.He also describes a line of sight obstruction for vehicles turning left onto Airport Road when pulling out of Rose Avenue if a vehicle is parked along his property on Airport.(images)

 

 

NEXT MEETING DATE:  The next Traffic Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 9:00 am in the Training Room of the Blacksburg Police Department, located at 200 Clay Street, SW. 

 

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