AGENDA REQUEST

Sponsor:

 Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

 

R. Holder Trumbo, Jr., Scott District Supervisor

 

February 18, 2010

Staff Lead:

Department:

 

Frederick P.D. Carr, Director

 

Community Development

Topic:

A Resolution Presenting Comments Regarding the Draft Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission 2035 Regional Long Range Transportation Plan

Topic Description:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC) are partnering to evaluate the rural transportation system in the region and to recommend a range of transpor­tation improvements that best satisfy existing and future transportation needs. Parsons is the transportation consultant. The Draft 2035 Regional Long Range Transportation Plan, included as Attachment 1, represents the initial product available for comment region-wide.

This partnership is intended to result in a regional plan that identifies needs based upon goals and objectives established by the region and its participating local governments.  Those local governments include the Counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock, and the towns of Culpeper, Gordonsville, Madison, Orange, Remington, Warrenton, and Washington.

The draft plan presents:

v  Regional Goals;

v  Demographic and Land Use Trends;

v  Regional Transportation System (e.g., Human Services Transportation, Rail and Airports, Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities, and Travel Demand Management); and

v  Transportation System Performance & Recommendations

Brief Analysis:

The VDOT/RRRC public hearing on this draft plan took place on February 3, 2010, at Germanna Community College in Culpeper County.  Preliminary staff comments were drafted and presented at that hearing. Community Development staff’s initial review and comments are included as Attachment 2.  Since that time, staff has had the opportunity to work with Board Members to further refine the County’s comments.  These are included as Attachment 3. 

The regional goals, while generically commendable and consistent with the adopted Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan, do not go far enough in emphasizing coordinated land use planning and transportation.  The goals could be applied to any region in Virginia and do not reflect the unique feature of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region.   The County is recommending that more targeted strategies be added to the plan, such as preserving the corridors of statewide significance, reducing the number of signalized intersections on Route 29, and targeting transportation improvements to the designated growth areas.

The draft plan also contains a Transportation System Performance & Recommendations section, which includes 84 road network deficiencies and recommendations for both Fauquier County and the Town of Warrenton.  This section not only considered local plans, but also assessed bridge conditions (e.g., repair or replace) and road safety, geometric conditions and capacities (levels of service).  The County’s response highlights recommendations that need revision due to inconsistencies with the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan, other official actions, and overall County approaches to transportation planning. 

In general, the draft plan’s recommendations place far too great an emphasis on road widening; whereas Fauquier County does not subscribe to a policy approach that road widening is always the appropriate response to the need for additional capacity.  Alternatives, such as commuter buses, also need to be part of the solution.  Similarly, use of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Policy on Geometric Design as a rigid standard does not take into account field conditions, low-impact design and context sensitive solutions that need to form part of a deficiency analysis.  In addition, we are concerned that the projections being used by the consultants may be based on data that is inappropriate in light of the current economic situation and likely changes in energy costs and energy policies over the plan period.  Finally, Fauquier County is troubled that the plan contained no financial constraints, which could have provided a more realistic ranking of priorities.

Changes are sought for many of the specific road recommendations including, for example:

  • Intersection of Route 29 and Route 215 (RRRC Plan Reference #64 – US 15/US 29/VA 215) – Text does not agree with recently adopted Comprehensive Plan Amendment for this area;
  • Route 17 from I-66 to Route 50 (RRRC Plan Reference #103 – US17/US 50 to I-66) – Neither the County nor the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) support widening to four lanes; and
  • Route 50 and Route 17 Intersection East to Route 611 (RRRC Plan Reference #104 – US 50/0.25 mi. East US 17 to VA 611) – Neither Fauquier County nor Loudoun County support widening of Route 50 to four lanes from Paris to St. Louis Road just west of Atoka.

This plan needs to accurately reflect Fauquier County’s transportation priorities.  Jeff Walker, RRRC Executive Director, has welcomed the opportunity to work with the County to improve the plan and to make the correct text changes.

 

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Consider the attached resolution.

Financial Impact Analysis:

None required.

 

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that affected by this request:

Fauquier County

Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission

 

ATTACHMENTS:

 

1.      Go to the VDOT web site to view the  Draft RRRC 2035 Regional Long Range Transportation Plan.

2.      Initial Staff Review Comments Transmitted to the RRRC

3.      Fauquier County Comments Regarding the Draft Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission 2035 Regional Long Range Transportation Plan

 

Back to Agenda...