November 17, 2008 Waterway Drive Traffic Calming Public Meeting, Mason District
On November 17, 2008 the Waterway Drive Traffic Calming Task Force held an open meeting in the Mason District Government Building for the purpose of describing all of the possible traffic calming measures available for Waterway Drive both through VDOT and through other possible means and to solicit community input. Fifty-nine community members were in attendance, including four of the five task force members (one being out of the country). The task force displayed maps of Waterway Drive and a range of possible options for each section and intersection of the drive. A slide show was also presented with pictures of the drive as it is and of traffic calming devices used in other areas of Northern Virginia.
Many opinions were expressed. Some were confused about the task force’s decision to look beyond the narrow confines of VDOTs allowed “traffic calming devices,” particularly as to what recommendations would actually require a community vote. A couple people expressed approval that the task force was willing to look beyond VDOT’s choices. A few people who opposed speed bumps mentioned that they are for some form of traffic calming. Many people described specific instances of accidents, skid marks, near misses and other dangers on Waterway Drive, some of whom wanted physical remedies and some of whom oppose some or all remedies. One person mentioned the expense of any remedies at all when weighed against other regional and state-wide needs. There were some remarks regarding community-wide solutions for Lake Barcroft and not just sending Waterway traffic to other parts of community. In response to a question, it was made clear that property owners have a right to reject speed bumps in front of their homes.
Kevin Kampschorer, Task Force chairperson, led the meeting, describing the work of the Task Force to date as observation and information gathering. He gave a slide presentation showing slides of Waterway, the Potterton bridge, various intersections, and existing signage. The photos of Waterway Drive indicate poor signage, poor visibility around turns, and blind hills. Kampschorer described the Task Force’s meeting with Mary Margaret Whipple and her call to the VA Secretary of Transportation to determine if Lake Barcroft could have a pilot program that tries out approaches not currently covered by the limited VDOT options that are part of their RTAP (Residential Traffic Administration Program). Examples of traffic calming used in other communities, but currently beyond what VDOT would permit in Lake Barcroft, were shown.
In future meetings, open to the community, the Task Force will come to a tentative proposal to be made to the affected community. This proposal will be made to the community at 1-2 additional public meetings before the official community vote.
Any proposal would also be advertised through Lake Link, the newsletter, and a possible mailing. The official vote is done directly through Mason District through direct mail to every household in the affected area with one vote per household (not per resident). The district tallies the vote.
Question and Answer Period: Audience members were asked to identify selves. Clarifications were requested first, followed by suggestions.
George November, 6303 Waterway
There is some confusion about the voting process. Would a pilot project require a vote at all? Please schedule any vote during non-summer months. Are there costs that can be incurred by the community? Could be posed to board. For example, our own signage. There is clearly an inadequate number of signs. I am for something, but against bumps. Can put signs in the middle of the street, straddle signs, put them in the road. All parents have concerns about children, but initiatives can get out of control.
TF: There are 402 households in the affected area. Each household gets one vote. 50% must be returned. Of the 50%, 60% must vote in favor of entire proposal.
George Erikson, 6300 Crosswoods Circle:
Questioned TF decision to contact Sen. Whipple and TF’s mandate beyond R-TAP; raised point about which roads are arterials, collectors and secondary and the effect of those classifications. Also, the TF has to have open meetings by LBA by-laws and VA statute.
Veronica Kinney, 3513 Pinetree Terrace
There is a $500 million deficit. Any vote would be for some kind of device, but if we get beyond VDOTs proposals, entire community has a vote.
Cliff Hall, 6424 Cavalier Corridor
Supports street painting and “Children at Play” type signs; opposes raised devices; commented on canvassing procedure; suggested adding “nothing” as an option. Concerned about TF going beyond its mandate.
Kevin Kampschorer, TF
TF felt it was worth exploring beyond 4 corners of the RTAP program.
Kim Wilkins, TF
No vote is needed on stop signs. A letter from LBA can request stop signs. If community does not have a board then the residents can get it. Votes are needed for traffic calming devices. Painting streets may require a vote.
Chris Pabilonia, 6331 Crosswoods Drive
Signage is the best thing to do. There’s a blind spot at Crosswoods Drive-Waterway Drive intersection where 900 cars pass daily, many at 40 mph, and an absence of street lighting. This is a very dangerous intersection. Skid marks and dents are evident. Would not second guess the TF. Sabrina Pabiliona added that additional lighting may not be good, because a street lamp can look like oncoming headlights. Need police cooperation. If people are speeding, they should get tickets. Could use cameras. Issue of breaking the law.
TF: RTAP does include multi-way stop signs
Aileen Pisciotta, 6302 Crosswoods Circle
Interested in signage. Have we thought about electronic signs that show the speed of the person passing by? Personally find them very effective and unobtrusive, not physical barriers, sometimes they can turn a traffic light red if someone is speeding. What is the connection between the problem and possible solutions presented? Isn’t the goal pedestrian protection?
Kathy Stokes, 6321 Waterway Drive
Is very supportive of traffic calming measures in general. Around Waterway Place and Beach 5 there are lots of pedestrians, jogging teams, big groups, nannies with babies, bikes, foot traffic, summertime parties. Cars are going too fast. Really scary. Blind curve at Waterway Place, need to go slowly around the curve, could use big mirrors.
Suggests a 3-way stop at Waterway and Stoneybrae and something at Waterway and Potterton; a crosswalk at Beach 5; signage at Waterway Place, reducing the speed limit and maybe mirrors; Rusticway to Waterway, down Rusticway to Beach 5. Could put a 6 inch sign in the middle of the road Why no mention of police cooperation?
Pedro Turina, 6360 Waterway Dr. Told about accident history near his house, including four Stuart students in an overturned car and of his experiences with VDOT in 1986 that resulted in the divided highway and 20 mph signs near Waterway and Cavalier. However, no one ever does under 25 mph. where see the dents, 31 years in the Lake, never park car on street. There’s a fun place to go up and down outside his house. Have approached issue with Mason District and VDOT. Knows he has 4 seconds to back out of his driveway to avoid being hit by cars coming over the hill. We are losing time as I could be hit at anytime. Something has to be done. (applause) None of the Lake Barcroft’s roads are in compliance with state of VA. Should we redo all the roads?
Ramon Garcia, 6358 Waterway Drive
Lives where car hit light pole, difficult to pull out car, now more problems
John King, 3414 Fiddlers Green
Adamantly opposes raised devices; would prefer stop signs to humps.
Donna James, TF
We know there is a history of unhappiness with VDOT itself as opposed to the task force.
Scott Kline, 6209 Waterway Dr.
Lives by Potterton Bridge. In favor of something at his intersection. Signs re “children” not as good as STOP signs at Potterton and Waterway; Signs are not always visible enough to drivers. Wants to thank committee. Three cars have come onto his lawn. In one accident , a car landed by his backyard playground minutes after his children came in from the yard, very dangerous, long straight away before bridge, looks like a highway. Essentially 90 degree turn. Design of what’s there is dangerous. There are 12 young children within 40 yards of intersection getting on and off school busses each day. Doing something can save someone from getting hurt. People barrel down Potterton, moving fast. A buck deer was hit at that intersection.
Peter Schloemer, 3400 Rusticway Lane
Rusticway and Waterway, no walkway on either side of Rusticway. Difficult to get out of driveway without hitting cars, pedestrians. Cars avoiding him leaving driveway swerve around and may hit walkers. No way to cross to Beach 5, people barely break. Right turns hard on Rusticway too, no room for turns, no room for error.
Charlotte Flounders, 3428 Stonybrae Drive
Thank you for work on both sides of this issue. Please don’t hold the vote in the summer. Big impact will be circles, raised areas, vertical structures. Suggested starting a signage effort earlier than the R-TAP process; among other things, doing so could determine whether other recommendations are needed. She thinks this will help the task force by showing that other methods have been tried and proven to be unsuccessful in deterring speeding. That way people against other traffic calming measures will not be able to say "if only there was more signage, people would drive more responsibly."
Lee Price, 6410 Waterway Drive
Waterway and Stonybrae by Beach 3. Is happy that the TF is looking at options beyond those recommended by VDOT; supports TF’s outside-the-box approach to solutions.. He doesn’t like humps. Wants no Dearborn-type humps, especially as to Waterway and Stoneybrae at Beach 3. He wonders which options have effectively slowed down traffic. Whatever is effective to slow traffic should be based on studies. Does feel there’s a serious problem.
Melanie Hale, 3317 Stoneybrae Drive
Was born in Lake Barcroft and has lived here 50 years. There have been the same problems in 1960s, no solutions, multiple entries and exits. If we fix things on Waterway, traffic will go to Stonybrae or Crosswoods, very against speedbumps, speeding tickets must be enforced. Code enforcement important. Is concerned about ripple effect of changed traffic patterns on streets other than Waterway should raised devices on Waterway cause drivers to seek other routes; vehemently against humps (to audience applause). She feels signs won’t be enforced, so its pointless to put up new ones. She’d like to see more enforcement.
John Guillory, 3411 Greentree Drive
Resident for 30 years. “Dangerous curve” signs may make people pay attention more than speed limit signs. The problem with speed humps and stop signs, is that stop signs are designed to promote the orderly flow of traffic, but sometimes the public sees stop signs as political. They are seen as impeding the flow of traffic and as inconveniences. 27% of gas is used up accelerating from stops. People quit respecting the law if stop signs are overused. People are even known to honk at speed bumps so people living near them suffer from drivers’ disapproval. Having speed bumps is an approach that remain years into the future.
Jim Bellas, 6415 Waterway Drive
Appreciate TF’s work. In the 1950’s the road was gravel, so you couldn’t go as fast. But we don’t need to have manufactured pot holes to slow people down. Speed bumps can be very depressing for a community. No to speed bumps. Could be more relaxed, maybe too many signs, many different issues. But speed bumps are a game stopper. Wants someone to say there will be no humps.
TF: Individual letters will be sent to each household. No decisions have been made at this point.
Donna James, TF
We have read the correspondence on Lake Link and know that many are opposed to speed bumps. As the vote must be unanimous, there is also a built-in disincentive to recommend speedbumps.
Peter Finkle, 6549 Crosswoods Drive
At Crosswoods and Waterway, stop signs are not followed. Still need enforcement. Some communities known for enforcement.
George Erickson (address above)
Is againsti speed bumps, but applauds enforcement. The road can promote people driving too fast. Writing tickets and extra signs might work.
Stuart Feldstein. TF rep from LBA
LBA can ask and has asked about enforcement several times. Not enough volume of cars, even Columbia Pike won’t do it. Police don’t have to sit at Dearborn anymore now that there are speed bumps there.
Les Edelman, 6330 Cavalier Corridor
Lives near intersection with Cavalier Corridor. Lived here 24 years. suggested a traffic safety education initiative regarding unsafe parts of streets aimed at residents and other users of LB streets.
Donna James, TF
We have discussed education regarding speeding such as Stuart High School, UPS drivers, etc.
Ron Martinson, 6353 Waterway
Lived here 30 years and raised children here.
Opposed to speed bumps & stop signs.
There are dangers. Cars can lose control by his house going up the hill in the winter. Understands and deeply sympathizes with concerns, but the problem is the people who break the law. Does not want the solution to be worse than the problem. Also, expect that there will always be more requests for more traffic calming.
Proponent of law enforcement, such as that used in Falls Church city. Speeding should result in fines. Set up speed traps and increased fines in our neighborhood. Revenue from speeding tickets could offset costs. LB contributes enough to taxes to get attention from elected officials and law enforcement. LBA hires off-duty police to patrol beaches.
Consider specific remedies such as green lights that turn red if speeding or increased fines for speeding.
Notes incomplete: All neighbors all community should have a say. Sit up at nights seeing speed bumps. Let’s think who uses Waterway? Us. There are 363 homes, most have two cars. That’s 725 cars in the middle area. They have to use this area. Ambulances and fire trucks also have to be able to get through. Detest speed bumps. Also snow plows, sand trucks, need to allow access.
Ernie Rafey, 6304 Waterway Drive
There have been three accidents in his yard. He is a very strong proponent of enforcement and opponent of humps. With his own money he bought a sign indicating “Driveways and Children Hidden by Curves and Hills” and suggested that such signs be used to see how effective they are before opting for other solutions. He offered to buy another sign if TF recommends their use. [His first sign was removed/stolen from yard.] As a doctor, he says don’t take medicine if it hurts rather than helps.
Pedro Turina (address above)
The police show no interest in controlling speeding in Lake Barcroft. Of the 980 cars counted during the traffic study, 150 went over the speed limit by at least 10 miles, about 37 mph. That should have been at least a $40 ticket each (others say more). How go about coming up with recommendations. Hope the task force is looking at the data and looking at the safest alternatives, not the least amount of nuisance.
Matt Meagh, 6416 Cavalier Corridor
Will adjust to whatever safe measure is recommended.
George Waters, 6328 Lakeview Dr., LBA Board Traffic Calming Subcommittee
LBA has called the police to come issue traffic tickets. Will come but won’t stay to establish their presence. Traffic lights and “super tickets” (more than the usual fee) are not permitted in residential areas.
After meeting, Chris and Sabrina Pabilonia discussed with Donna James painting fluorescent speed limits on the roadway especially at dip in Waterway before median strip (around Cavalier Corr. and Crosswoods intersections) and/or a three-way stop at Crosswoods and Waterway. Also possibly rumble strips.