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Posted December 8, 2010 | comments 2 Comments

Town split over Queen Street project

By Amber Marra - amarra@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- Conflicting views were expressed when Queen Street residents stepped forward to voice their opinions on a proposed project at a Town Council infrastructure committee meeting Tuesday night.

The intention of Tuesday's meeting was to allow residents to let the committee know their feelings on the impact the project will have on the street, as well as learn more about four proposed design options set before the council and the Virginia Department of Transportation. The project consists of replacing a bridge over Town Run, placing sidewalks on either side of the road, and remedying drainage issues.

One design option, created by Randy Kepler, of 220 S. Massanutten St., was of particular interest, as some residents were enamored by the addition of bump-outs along the road, creating a more narrow traffic corridor and, in theory, slowing vehicles.

"These choke points automatically slow down traffic, and that's especially important at the Massanutten Street intersection that's already not the best for vision," said Leon Smith, of 267 S. Holliday St.

The bump-outs were an irritation for other residents, specifically Raymond Willis, of 214 E. Queen St., who strongly opposed the parking limitations they would impose.

"The issue of speed came late in this discussion; no one has any statistics on speeding on Queen Street," Willis said. "Once you set up bump-outs, it eliminates any flexibility in parking whatsoever unless the town comes in and knocks out some bump-outs at some point."

But like Smith, others talked about past improvements that widened Strasburg's roads, including part of Queen Street.

"If I had to trade off between parking and speed, I would go with [reducing] speed," said Dan Kitzmiller, of 187 S. Massanutten St. "When [west] Queen Street was widened it became a raceway ... people come plowing down there pretty fast."

At one point, Kepler stepped forward to defend his design and to explain that, as a resident of Queen Street and a former Strasburg planning commissioner, he meant the best with his design for his neighbors and the rest of the community.

"I don't see any problems with parking where it's going to be a continuous fiasco," he said.

One resident who has been especially vocal about the impact the Queen Street project, Leslie Meaux, of 184 S. Massanutten St., was not at Tuesday's meeting, but did tell acting Town Manager Judson Rex to make it clear that she was in favor of Kepler's design because of the lessened impact to her historic property.

Eventually, infrastructure Chairman Bob Baker said that the council and committee had "beat this horse to death" and would most likely communicate the views of the residents to VDOT to combine both Kepler's design with another option that would keep the bump-outs in front of Meaux's property, but lessen the impact on parking on the rest of the street.


    What is it with this town and the obsession with bump-outs. Take a look at the ones in Front Royal at the hospital. Black marks from tires hitting and missing concrete from snow blades really tells me noooo bump-outs. I live on Washington St. and know the problem with speeding automobiles. Bump-outs won't stop the speeding, but the police can. A few tickets and the word would soon get around.

    I can't figure the big deal with Queen Street. It seems to me to be a simple solution. Just build it to match the already renovated parts of Queen Street. Bingo, its fixed.
    This street problem brings to mine the word, foresight. What this town is sorely lacking. When little problems like one street renovation is such a big deal, and the major flow of traffic in and through town for now and in the future is neglected or obstructed by design. This tells me the town is not looking at the big picture.

    Hoorah. At least someone else sees the issue. We are constantly going back to being reactive. When will this council/town be proactive? After reading about people concerned about the historical property being deminished is a joke. Step back, look around and see what the great planning has down to this once quaint and quiet town. Greed set in and now we look like Front Royal. We now have an unfinished plot of land where we used to have a nice wooded lot and a eyesore labeled as a lookout tower. We should demand more from our council and town leaders. I believe that we need projects but ones that are well thought out projects. Time for a change???

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