History vs. Highway

Should we keep widening Route 29 and Route 15, paving over everything natural or historic that happens to be in the way?  We’ve been paving roads for the last 80 years, since  politicians discovered the power of promises to “get Virginia out of the mud.”

Anyone think we should build another 68,000 miles of roads in Virginia (counting miles inside the cities) for the next 80 years?   Anyone think Buzz Lightyear provided the right motto (To Infinity and Beyond!) for road building?  No, of course not.  We all know that we’re waaaaay past the conversion from horse-and-buggy to cars – but where do we stop?

Answer: Buckland.

The Planning Department recommends widening Route 29 through the Buckland Historic Overlay District, centered on a 1798 town near the Fauquier County border.

That’s not what the landowners in the area want.  They asked the county to protect its only historic overlay district, by retaining but not widening the 4-lane divided highway over Broad Run.  The Planning Commission agreed.

The proposed Transportation Chapter for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan would expand Route 29 to a 6-lane highway in order to move traffic through Gainesville – but only north of the Route15/29 interchange.   Both landowners and planning commissioners propose to keep Route 29 at its current 4-lane width south of that interchange to the Fauquier County border.

County staff, on the other hand, are asking the Board of County Supervisors to reject the Planning Commission recommendation.  In the next 20 years, traffic will drop below Level of Service (LOS) D unless the road is expanded.   There is a blind ambition that no road segment in the county should ever drop below LOS D, even if we’re just improving the comfort level of Culpeper/Fauquier commuters racing back and forth to jobs in Fairfax/Loudoun counties

The staff recommendation includes lots of blather about context-sensitive solutions, as if you could hide the traffic and its noise.  Their bottom line is “roads are king, keep cars happy, pave pave pave.”   When push comes to shove, the staff recommends that rare local history should be secondary to highway expansion.

Question: When will county staff stop making recommendations to build more roads than we can afford, and to wipe out our history and nature in the process?
Answer: When the Board of County Supervisors says staff must change.  If our elected officials endorse road expansion through the only Historic Overlay District in the county… then we’re  paving To Infinity and Beyond!


1 comment so far

  1. Mom on


    1. When the Board of County Supervisors says staff must change (or more properly changes the staff).


    2. When the residents say the Board of County Supervisors must be changed, or at least that portion made up of Nohe, Jenkins & Covington.

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