Editorial: Another Problem-Solving Piece

A hallmark of the previous Board of Supervisors’ term was its work to identify the large number of missing road segments often found between developments in eastern Loudoun following decades of rapid development. Then they put money on the table to make those connections.

Residents today are beginning to enjoy the results of that work.

Now, county leaders are putting the focus on the most dangerous intersections—also chiefly in eastern Loudoun. Unlike the missing links, these road crossings aren’t just frustrating inconveniences; they pose public hazards. These also are byproducts of rapid development, which left the county dotted with wide, unsignalized intersections in some areas, and inadequate, overburdened crossings in others. While there may be some developer money available to help and the state Department of Transportation may be able to work some of these into its construction plans, residents can’t wait decades longer for the improvements to be made. These crossings won’t get any safer without action.

Progress also is being made on commuter choke points, with crews busy with long-delayed road widenings and interchange construction. If supervisors can implement a significant, multi-year construction plan for the interchanges, there is a good chance residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a functioning road network sometime soon.

Then the trick will be to keep it functioning. And to do so without having to continually dump local tax dollars into emergency projects.

That’s an important focus for those leading the Envision Loudoun comprehensive planning effort. They can learn from the mistakes of previous plans and do a better job of ensuring not only that new development—both residents and commercial—doesn’t upset the county’s fiscal wellbeing, but also that it isn’t allowed to outstrip the community’s transportation infrastructure. Long-term planning is much more than calculating rooftop totals.

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