Letter: Bill Travis, Lucketts

Editor: I am a resident and landowner in Lucketts. I own the old Newvalley Church, an historic property on Newvalley Church Road located about a mile from the intersection of Rt. 15 and Stumptown Road, the center of the Lucketts hamlet. My family and I travel Rt. 15 daily. The developmental planning for Rt. 15 north of Leesburg directly affects me and my family.

I believe that widening Rt. 15 to four lanes to about Montressor Road would simply move the daily traffic jam from between Fort Evans Road and Battlefield Road to the area near Limestone School Road. You’ll be simply shifting the traffic jam north a few miles.  By putting a series of roundabouts at Battlefield and Rt. 15, Kings St. and Rt. 15, Whites Ferry Road and Rt. 15, and, yes, at Stumptown Road and Rt. 15, it would allow a constant flow. Traffic would not move at 55 mph, but it might move at 40-45 mph, which is about 40 mph faster than it’s moving now at rush hour. It would be a constant flow to the Point-of-Rocks Bridge. What happens after that, we have little control of.

I know that putting a round-about at the intersection of Rt. 15 and Stumptown in Lucketts is blasphemous to many, but, to put a bypass around this area to the west simply moves traffic closer to residential areas and is, in my opinion, overkill. Take a close look at “downtown” Lucketts. Besides the Community Center and the elementary school, it is essentially an eyesore. You have the GasSmart Cigarette Outlet with adjacent decrepit trailer park, the antique shops on both sides of Rt. 15, that as much as we love them, probably couldn’t pass a current building inspection, and in 10 years will probably fall down of their own accord. Sorry ladies at the Old Lucketts Store, but saving your buildings by putting in a multi-million dollar bypass is crazy. I vote take eminent domain, purchase those properties, and put in a roundabout.

The roundabouts on Rt. 15 south of Leesburg at the intersection with Rt. 50, and the one on the Maryland side north of the Point-of-Rocks Bridge, have proven to be successful. This strategy implemented between Battlefield and Stumptown Road on Rt. 15 with additional safety features added to the existing single lane two-way highway, in my opinion, would provide a controlled, constant flow, north to the Maryland boarder. It might even put pressure on Maryland to improve the bridge and take out the traffic light at Rt. 15 and Rt. 28 in Point-of-Rocks on the Maryland side.

I’ve said my piece. Thank you for listening.

Bill Travis, Lucketts

3 thoughts on “Letter: Bill Travis, Lucketts

  • 2018-05-25 at 9:01 pm
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    A roundabout at the Lucketts intersection is not blasphemous. It is precisely the solution for Lucketts recommended in 2006 by Ian Lockwood, the designer of the Route 50 traffic calming project, which became a national example of the successful meshing of community sustainability with optimal and economical congestion reduction solutions. The current Loudoun Comprehensive Plan states that it should be a model for all rural roads in Loudoun. Interestingly, the new draft Comprehensive Plan–produced by a housing develompent industry dominated Stakeholders committee, proposes eliminating that language. Also of note is that the county’s transportation planners, none of whom have designed a roundabout, continue to say that this internationally known traffic engineer, who writes policy for the Federal Highway Administration, is mistaken when he says a roundabout will “fit” or is the best solution for the current Lucketts intersection. Finally, I must disagree with Mr. Travis’s assertion that the buildings in Lucketts are not worthy of respect. A professional survey of a decade ago commissioned by VDOT documents the rich architectural history of this crossroads community. And the Old Lucketts Store is a profitable and regionally famous magnet for shoppers, drawing visitors into the area, who then visit wineries, breweries, and restaurants in rural Loudoun as well as Leesburg. As for the trailer parks–these are one of the very, very few places where Loudoun’s working poor can afford to live. The one across from Lucketts Elementary School has a nice white fence to shield Loudoun’s more wealthy residents from one of the stark facts of our nation as it is today. As Randy Newman’s lyrics so well express: “I’m glad I’m living in the land of the free, where the rich just get richer, and the poor you don’t ever have to see.”

  • 2018-05-28 at 4:11 pm
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    Route 15 needs a by-pass and new bridge to Maryland. Anything short of that is just chewing gum and Bandaids. Maryland commuters are just brain dead by not putting the heat on their own politicians. Virginia is thankfully doing something.

  • 2018-05-29 at 12:34 pm
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    It is an unfortunate reality that growth affects the status quo. Across the U.S., thousands of communities like Lucketts and Leesburg are dying out because there is no economic opportunity to retain their citizens and attract new ones. Those thousands of communities and millions of people would kill to have the problem we face here – economic growth outpacing our ability to support it with infrastructure. Our reality is that the current situation on 15 is already untenable and getting worse. Incremental improvements like roundabouts do not change the fact that a two lane road physically cannot accommodate the traffic volume that exists in the corridor. You can only put so much water through a 1 inch pipe. When you have a 3 inch pipe feeding into the 1 inch, making the pipe straighter doesnt fix the problem. The only solution to the backup is to build a bigger pipe.

    I will say that I think a roundabout for Lucketts is a great idea though. We could make it the worlds largest roundabout with the town right in the center and the “circle” roads going around it to the East and West. Would be a great tourist attraction AND help the traffic problem.

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