Letter: Mayor Roger L. Vance, Hillsboro

Editor: The fatality on Rt. 9 just east of Hillsboro last week, a result of excessive speed and extreme recklessness, is a tragic reminder of a long-neglected, daily, threat to thousands of regional residents. This key 13-mile corridor that brings thousands of local residents, workers, and tourists into and through northwestern Loudoun every day has long been notorious for its unsafe conditions. The time to tame it has come.

For nearly 15 years the Town of Hillsboro has fought for a traffic-calming project within its limits designed to “Take Back our Main Street”—the historic Charles Town Pike. High volume, high speeds and reckless driving through the narrow and compact historic village of less than 50 homes has plagued us for decades. Fortunately, our project to slow traffic, provide safe sidewalks on both side of the road, safe on-street public parking, safe crosswalks and several speed-inhibiting features, is set to begin next summer. We are hopeful full funding to complete the system with speed- and congestion-mitigating roundabouts will be approved this year to ensure the entire project is built as one project, one time, saving millions and years of disruption.

While we in Hillsboro are now on the verge of reducing the dangers associated with the more than 16,000 vehicles passing through our town each day, we know the entire corridor must be addressed. With the extension of our town boundary approximately one-half mile east on Rt. 9, we’ve lowered all in-town speed limits to 25 mph, which will require reductions in the speed limit on the approaches, precisely where last week’s fatality occurred. I have called on VDOT for speed reductions along the entire corridor and we intend to work with the Sheriff Office and State Police for the initiation of a robust enforcement campaign in Hillsboro and all along Rt. 9.

The facts are clear: this corridor will continue to carry tens of thousands of motorists every day and no alternative highway will be built or corridor widening will occur in the foreseeable future. The only way to improve safety is through traffic-calming measures that will physically constrain speeds, prohibit passing, inhibit other opportunities for reckless driving and—most critically to modify the behavior of the inevitable irresponsible motorists—heightened, consistent and no-nonsense enforcement.

Taming Rt. 9 is not impossible. Willful resignation, and reluctance to taking assertive action, is entirely unacceptable. Because of relentless work by many, over many years, the taming of Rt. 9 inside the Town of Hillsboro has begun. It is time to ensure we are doing all that can be done to do the same for the entire corridor.

Mayor Roger L. Vance
Town of Hillsboro

One thought on “Letter: Mayor Roger L. Vance, Hillsboro

  • 2017-10-20 at 9:08 am

    Mayor Vance,
    Thank you for your efforts on Rt 9 and traffic calming. To add a thought I would remind everyone that the issue goes beyond just the Town and includes feeder roads and Rt 9 residential access. We have experienced at certain times of the day we are playing roulette with trying to access Rt. 9. Coming off of Mountain Rd to Rt is a death trap. When this opinion was expressed to VDOT years ago I was told turn right and go up to the light at the school to turn right. The roundabout which will hopefully assist the town will in fact make Mountain Rd worse because people will speed up coming out of the roundabout. They do that now after getting true the light. Enforcement of speed on the feeder road is non existent! Double lines on Hillsboro roads are ignored every day. No lines on Mountain Road allow passing on a road which is narrow and dangerous at certain points. Just a reminder that all our side roads were not built for this type of traffic. Being told to go up the school to turn east does not encourage active participation rather discourages it. After all who wants to keep banging their heads against the state VDOT WALL ? Thanks for your contributions to assist the intown traffic improvements but feel we need more? Sheriff Chapman or Supervisor Buffington any thoughts?

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