Regarding last week’s article about U.S. 17 traffic calming, I felt the article was very well written, but I would like to point out some key data that was not stated that I feel needs to be included. It is very important to help the entire story be told more clearly about why we are engaged in this topic for so long.
1. VDOT counts show a clear increase in the millions of vehicles that travel on U.S. 17 over the years and clearly an increase year to year. This data is specific to U.S. 17 between Marshall to Warrenton. In 2000 there were 3,855,376 vehicles, in 2006 it climbed to 5,123,164 and in 2017 it was 7,100,300 in automobiles, tractor trailers, motorcycles and other vehicles. The data shows four cars to every one tractor trailer on U.S. 17. It is increasing about 200,000 vehicles per year, and U.S. 17 is having an increase in accidents. The speed limit is 55 mph, but the number of vehicles speeding between 60 mph to over 100 mph was 4.5 million in 2016 and 2017, per VDOT statistics.
2. The members of the Fauquier Board of Supervisors are also 100% on board with supporting Sen. [Jill] Vogel's bills for increased/doubled speeding fines and electronic speed detection signs. All five are on board, as they have been since 2017, when similar bills were submitted at Richmond to calm U.S. 17.
3. A bill for doubling the speeding fines on U.S. 17 was proposed in January 2019 by Vogel, and almost passed with five yes votes, seven no votes with one abstention. Sheriff [Bob] Mosier sent a deputy down in 2019 to support Vogel’s bill to help address the U.S. 17 speeding by speaking at the podium, as did members of the board of supervisors, a student who rides the bus and multiple citizens.
Sheriff Mosier is planning to attend himself this year to help the bill to pass.
Many citizens are involved with this U.S. 17 calming, and not only ones that live along U.S. 17
It is not just a small group of people living along U.S. 17 that this bill concerns.
4. In the article there was no mention about the other variables like school buses having to stop on U.S. 17 to pick up and drop off children, which concerns many parents.
5. The article did not mention the growth of the Virginia ports, with the largest cargo ships bringing more tractor trailer traffic onto U.S. 17 than ever before. That has already happened for the past three to four years and is predicted to grow more, including the Inland Marine Port off of Interstate 66 that is the primary destination of the tractor trailers using U.S. 17.
6. No mention about the traffic light being removed at U.S. 17/15/29. Once removed it will reduce the break in traffic flow, and create a worse issue of trying to exit and enter U.S. 17 at intersections like Belvoir, Old Tavern and Blantyre. I wrote VDOT about this and no word from them about how they plan to deal with the problem they are going to make worse.
I am not against the construction to remove the light because it creates a huge back up of traffic, but VDOT has no response to help out by making other adjustments such as why were working through Vogel and Del. Michael Webert to help save us, and everyone who uses U.S. 17.
7. A main point I asked to be covered is that VDOT designed the road poorly in the form of not wide enough shoulder widths, which has been stated by many deputies as being a main problem of trying of trying to enforce U.S. 17 safely. VDOT puts full responsibility on deputies and state police to enforce the speed limit per their website and statements but did not design U.S. 17 to be enforced. This is why Fauquier is trying to implement sensible and cost-effective solutions to the speeding problem.
For anyone who would like more information or would like to help, I can be reached at RT17PROJECT@AOL.COM or at 540-878-9197.