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Hearing held on intersection

A public hearing regarding the intersection of Oak, Griffin and High streets was held by Farmville Town Council on Oct. 18 and saw approximately 12 residents speak, around seven of which spoke in support of a proposed roundabout.

Gerald Spates

Town Manager Gerald Spates previously cited the three options for the intersection, realignment being one — which has a cost estimate from the town of around $1 million — and constructing a roundabout, recommended by the engineering firm McCormick Taylor, which performed a study on the intersection and estimated a roundabout would cost nearly $3.8 million. The third option is leaving the heavily-traveled intersection as is. At the Oct. 18 hearing, Spates said if the town constructed the roundabout, it would cost approximately $2.2 million.

Residents that spoke in support of the roundabout cited statistics regarding roundabouts being a safer option for pedestrian, vehicle and driver safety.

“I’m in favor of a roundabout because I believe a single-lane roundabout properly designed and constructed would increase safety and efficiency for all pedestrians and commuters, increase livability in the Town of Farmville — because nobody likes the waiting, the danger, the noise and the pollution that is inseparable from a traditional signal intersection — and increase the intersection’s aesthetic value and creative focal point for visitors and tourists to view and comment on while enjoying the many attractions that Farmville and the region has to offer,” said Anne Yoelin, who lives in a house at the intersection.

“Me and my wife are strongly opposed to the roundabout because we feel it’s not needed, not necessary and expensive,” said Farmville resident Jack Peery. “My

David Whitus

family moved to Farmville in 1958… and I’m here to tell you the current setup is the safest and the best its ever been, and I think the statistics (show that).”

Peery said the extra minute or two that it takes to get through the intersection is a small price to pay for both vehicular and pedestrian safety.

Prior to the beginning of the hearing, Spates said that during the master plan process, there were numerous issues raised concerning vehicle access, parking, pedestrian safety and bicycle access among other things.

“I find it very interesting that there was concerns for the intersection of Oak, High and Griffin when you have over 2,000 students per day traveling over Main Street going to Midtown Square and there is none or very little mention of this,” Spates said. “Also with the plans in place with the renovations in place with the high-rises known as Curry and Frazier and the entrances fronting on Main Street, the increase of pedestrian traffic in this area will increase dramatically. I truly feel that if we’re going to prioritize projects, Midtown Square should be No. 1.”

At the end of the hearing, Farmville Mayor David Whitus said the infrastructure committee and the finance committee will both look at the proposal and come back to council with a recommendation.

“Perhaps at the November meeting, perhaps not because there’s still a lot of things to be considered,” Whitus said. “So the two committees will make their report, and we’ll proceed from there.”