Residents discuss intersection

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, November 29, 2018

Farmville residents weighed in on the Farmville Town Council’s recent discussion to examine alternative measures to improve traffic flow along the intersection of Griffin Boulevard and High and Oak streets during the council’s Nov. 14 meeting.

Adam Yoelin and Faye Green spoke, addressing concerns and alternative solutions for the intersection.

Modifications for the proposed intersection, according to a discussion by council during its October meeting, included shifting the pedestrian walkways and shortening the length pedestrians would have to go to cross the road. Town Manager Gerald Spates said during the October meeting that the modifications would also better tie the pedestrian walkways to the traffic light cycle. A small crosswalk is proposed to be installed between Oak Street and the island. A crosswalk stretching diagonally from the High Street/Griffin Boulevard intersection to Oak Street would also be removed, potentially easing traffic flow and increasing pedestrian safety.

Email newsletter signup

Spates said due to the changing elevation of the sidewalk in the area of High, Oak and Appomattox streets, the disability access ramps at the sidewalk would be extended to move further down the street.

Spates said the total improvement costs associated with the project could be approximately $17,000.

“Before we settle for a C solution to any of our problems, every option to achieve A-plus solutions must be exhausted,” Yoelin said in reference to the proposed modifications. Yoelin spoke in favor of a roundabout, which a former study conducted by McCormick Taylor cited had the highest safety rating for vehicles.

Green suggested narrowing the street sizes to two lanes, adjusting the lanes for Griffin Boulevard to lead straight to Oak Street and making the intersection a four-way stop.

She said this option could curb the temptation for drivers to speed through traffic lights, and improve the aesthetic quality of the intersection by removing the traffic lights.

“It is an option,” Green said. “Please don’t rush to a decision when there are other possible options to consider.”

Green asked whether the roundabout is still being considered for the intersection.

Spates said in a previous interview that the recommendations were based on a prior traffic study of the intersection conducted by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) that offered three recommendations: to keep the intersection as it is, to install a roundabout or to install modifications of the intersection that include shifting the pedestrian walkways.

Spates said the roundabout could still potentially be a possibility, depending on whether the funds would be available.

The council cast a vote to approve the recommendations during the October meeting, but the vote failed with four council members Cole, At-large council member Dan Dwyer,  Ward B Council member Brian Vincent and Ward E Council member J.J. “Jamie” Davis voting to deny the recommendations, and Hunter and Pairet voting to approve.

At-large council member Tom Pairet said Nov. 14 that a discussion about the intersection planned for the town’s infrastructure committee was moved due to a discussion about a decision to change the town’s parking meters that was also scheduled for the committee meeting.

Pairet said this decision to move the discussion will allow time to gather the necessary information about the intersection and present it to council, potentially in January.

“It’s been almost a year now since we first started with this,” Pairet said, “and I’d like for everybody to have kind of a refresher course so that we can all make sure that we are on the same page. We all still understand what’s going on.”

Members of the council voted to continue discussion on the intersection.