Rural Arterials Network
This committee is monitoring the issues arising from Loudoun’s arterial roads studies and subsequent road projects, and the county’s emphasis on expanding capacity to facilitate more interstate traffic, induced demand, and sprawl development. That approach threatens Loudoun’s tourism economy, local small businesses that serve it and is at odds with citizen’s clearly articulated desires for low growth and preservation of historic and scenic assets.
The committee advocates for a balanced, comprehensive approach that instead focuses on county adoption of the regional Transportation Planning Board’s Visualize 2045 aspirational goals, exchanging its current level-of-service metrics for vehicle-miles-traveled metrics, better addressing cut-through traffic on rural roads and through historic villages, and improving safety using flexibility in highway design standards that mitigate or remove negative impacts to heritage and environmental assets. Those assets are vital to the county’s vital tourism economy. Loudoun’s rural transportation planning must begin with citizen’s vision for their communities’ futures.
The committee first has reviewed the Route 15 North projects. The 2015-2019 Board of Supervisors approved 4-laning Route 15 from Leesburg to Montresor Road (Phase 1), and 4-laning Route 15 from Montresor to Lucketts and sharply restricting local access to Wilt Store Road (Phase 2). Phase 1 is funded and in progress. At the February 2, 2021, BOS meeting, agenda item 7 proposes that the county vote to affirm the scope of the 4-laning project.
County staff have not incorporated recommended changes from Coalition partners Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, Piedmont Environmental Council, and Catoctin Coalition. The county removed federal funding from the project to eliminate the need for federal oversight through the National Environmental Protection Act.
Because no state funding is involved, there also is no oversight from the Commonwealth Transportation Board or the Secretary of Transportation.
VDOT Smartscale has rejected funding for Phase 2 (VDOT has ultimate responsibility for maintaining the highway). A county application for Federal Highway Administration funds for Phase 2 (which sought exemption from National Environmental Protection Act requirements) also was rejected.
Current committee documents include: