Community: 1, Buckland Bypass: 0

buckThe room at Haymarket Elementary was packed with 150+ people.  A significant percentage wore T-shirts expressing opposition to the latest proposal for a Buckland Bypass,a  4-lane divided highway west of Haymarket. concerned that Prince William County was proposing (again) to build a Buckland Bypass.

Fauquier officials made clear that they did not support the Buckland Bypass (which would start in their county) now, and never have.

The residents of Cerro Gordo and nearby neighborhoods made their points clearly, politely, forcefully, and successfully last night.  All but perhaps one were clearly opposed.  The road would displace residents, transform the character of the neighborhoods, potentially dry up wells – and the costs would far exceed the benefits.

Jeanine Lawson, Brentsville District Supervisor, commented that they “killed it.”  She predicted with confidence that there will be no Comprehensive Plan Amendment to initiate a Buckland Bypass.

Earlier in 2017, the county floated a proposal for a new highway linking Route 29 and I-66, so commuters driving north from Stafford, Culpeper, and Fauquier would be able to cut through Prince William’s Rural Area in order to get to work.
buck3

The county’s project was an echo of previous proposals for a Western Bypass or Outer Beltway.  Various versions of new roads have been justified by the supposed need to get heavy trucks from I-95 to I-81 quicker, or to move commuters to the west before they drive eastward towards DC, or… well, pick a rationalization, they’re all equally valid.

The fundamental push has been from developers who want to by land cheap, get it rezoned to “bust” the Rural Area protections, and then build more subdivisions.  If only the government would build new roads, then traffic congestion would simply evaporate.  Then everyone would support  more residential development on the periphery of the urban core, right?

Reality suggests otherwise.  I-66 has been widened to Haymarket, and a new interchange completed.  A new Route 29 interchange at Linton Hall has been built.  That did not cause traffic to evaporate – and the “just build more roads; that will fix it this time” argument failed last night.

The Buckland Bypass was only a skirmish.  It can be compared to the Buckland Races in 1863 – important for those directly affected, but not a conclusive engagement in the war.  The real challenge, protecting the Rural Area, still lies ahead.

buck2proposed “short routes” discussed at the October 10 Stakeholder’s Meeting

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