Editor: So Waterford (and a neighborhood in Purcellville) are now amongst those having their ox gored? They have joined a chorus of complaints about the direct impact of the vigorous development in once bucolic western Loudoun. The impact is the intolerable traffic through their neighborhoods. We in the historic neighborhood of Wheatland could commiserate based on our traffic nightmare.
There is no question that the roads of western Loudoun were conceived in a different century and were not designed for the vehicle sizes, speeds, and traffic volumes to which they are now subjected. Waterford residents complain about “3,000 vehicles [cutting] through the village each day, mainly during rush hour.” They cite traffic wakeup calls “every morning around 5 a.m.” They note two car accidents in their village. They complain that they have “become the arterial … the substitute” for a way around Rt. 287, Rt. 9, and Rt. 15 congestion. An anticipated solution to their traffic woes is the proposed roundabout at Rt. 287/Rt. 9 (which is seven years away according to the county’s own construction schedule).
The residents of Wheatland can empathize … to a point! We have an almost continuous backup of traffic through our neighborhood so that we cannot get into or out of our driveways (inconsiderate drivers stop right across the entrances). We risk our lives trying to get to our mailboxes across the road. We have no stop signs or calming devices, no speed signboards, no shoulders, no pullovers, and no enforcement by the sheriff’s office. We have children who wait for buses and blind curves, serious drop-offs, huge trucks using loud engine braking at all hours, motorcycles and sports cars that race from the intersection through our neighborhood, and numerous multi-car accidents in our neighborhood.
Waterford has 3,000 vehicles a day through their village? We have on average 9,200 per weekday and 8,900 when weekends are taken into consideration—more than any other section of Rt. 287. The posted speed limit through our neighborhood is 55 mph (one of only two sections in the entire length of Rt. 287 where the speed limit is posted at more than 45 mph); yet VDOT’s latest speed study, based on their HI-STAR collection stations, determined that the 85th percentile speed northbound through our neighborhood is 64.5 mph while the same reading southbound is an unbelievable 67.9 mph!
We in Wheatland will not stand idly by and have Waterford’s traffic woes exacerbate ours. We will not let our traffic burden be increased by sending some of the 3,000 vehicles from Waterford onto Rt. 287 thereby increasing our daily volume to over 10,000 vehicles. The bottom line is that as long as we have an antiquated road system in western Loudoun, the burden of increasing development—and the traffic it inevitably brings with it—needs to be spread around the available roads so the burden is shared.
Welcome to our world Waterford!
John D. Tew, Wheatland