The Purcellville Town Council this week voted unanimously to authorize Town Manager David Mekarski to request $350,000 from the county government to fund a town-wide transportation study that will provide the town with information on its current transportation network, address future issues and examine the creation of a contiguous multi-use path around the town that will enhance pedestrian safety.
According to a staff report, the study is needed because of increased residential and commercial development and because the last one was performed nearly a decade ago—in 2009 by Kimley-Horn and Associates.
Since 2010, the town’s population has increased from 7,727 to nearly 10,000. The staff expects it to increase to 14,000 by 2040 and pointed out that upcoming county road projects, including the construction of the Rt. 7/690 interchange and improvements to the Rt.7/287 intersection, could create new traffic trouble points. The study will help the town plan for these projects and for future growth.
If the county approves the request, the town would need to procure a firm to conduct the study, manage the project and schedule community meetings.
A major component of the study will be the town’s work alongside the firm to plan for the town-wide network connecting existing sidewalks, paths and trails with new projects.
“The whole goal is to tie the pedestrian network together and link it to the W&OD trail,” Mekarski said.
Kimley-Horn’s 2009 town-wide transportation plan looked forward to 2035 and found that 98 percent of residents drove personal vehicles to work and that Main Street and Rt. 287 had the highest daily traffic volumes within the 7.3-square-mile study area, with 30,000 vehicle trips each day between them.
It also found that the majority of traffic accidents occurred at the Main Street/Maple Avenue intersection, with 52 in a one-year span, and that nine intersections had a level of service rating of ‘C’ or less, with the Main Street/Rt. 287 and Main Street/South 20th Street intersections receiving an ‘F’ rating for morning and afternoon peak hours.
The study estimated that by 2030, the segment of Main Street between Rt. 287 and Maple Avenue would carry 91,600 daily vehicle trips in both directions. It also projected that the section of Rt. 287 between Rt. 7 and the future location of the Northern Collector Road, which the county’s Planning Commission last Saturday voted to remove from Countywide Transportation Plan, will experience 75,400 daily vehicle trips in both directions.
To accommodate these increases, Kimley-Horn recommended that the town undertake several road improvements, like extending O Street to connect 21st Street with Hatcher Avenue and connecting Nursery Avenue with 20th Street just south of the “teardrop” intersection to reduce confusion.
Although the town never followed through with those recommendations, it did connect A Street with the Main Street/Rt. 287 traffic circle in 2013 to form the Southern Collector Road.
The firm also recommended that the town add 12 miles of sidewalk and construct an off-street multi-use path along the western side of Rt. 287 from Main Street to Allder School Road by 2024, which it has yet to do.
This is the second time in the past two months that the town has requested money from the county. In September, the Town Council voted to authorize Mekarski to request $950,000 from the county to help build a multi-use path from Hirst Road to the W&OD Trail and to help fund restroom upgrades and a new floor in the Bush Tabernacle.
If the town’s requests are in line with county funding guidelines, they will be considered for inclusion in the county administrator’s proposed Capital Improvement Program and approved or denied by the Board of Supervisors in April.