Strasburg sets sights on next streetscape phase

By Alex Bridges

Strasburg could begin the third phase of its Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Project next year.

Town Council voted this week to adopt a resolution of support for Strasburg’s application to the Virginia Department of Transportation for funds to build phase III of the project. The town is applying for funds through VDOT’s transportation alternatives program.

Phase III calls for improvements on King Street, from Holliday Street to Massanutten Street, and is estimated to cost just under $1.1 million, Town Manager Judson Rex said Wednesday. Strasburg can apply for up to $650,000 from VDOT. The town has approximately $250,000 left from the previous VDOT grant awarded for the first two phases. Strasburg would need to pay the remaining $200,000 to cover its required 20-percent match.

The town should learn in the spring how much Strasburg will receive from VDOT, Rex said.

The town recently completed the first two phases of the project along King Street from Capon Street to North Holliday Street. The streetscape design called for the installation of new sidewalks, streetlights, trees and the creation of traffic-calming “bump-outs” at several of the intersections. Bump-outs also shorten the distance of the crosswalks.

Residents and business owners can expect much of the same improvements with the next phase.

“The design will be consistent with what was built before and have the features and character,” Rex said. “We’ve designed the whole project. It’s just a matter of constructing it in phases now.”

The intersection of King and Massanutten provided some challenges for the streetscape design. Officials are still looking at a way to incorporate a crosswalk across the north side of the intersection, Rex said. Plans do not currently show a crosswalk, but town officials are working with VDOT on the matter.

“It’s a weird intersection, so it takes a little bit of creative design there,” Rex said. “With the strange design of that intersection it just doesn’t make it conducive to having a crosswalk on that north side there. But we really see that as vital in terms of moving pedestrians from the [Strasburg] Emporium down to downtown and so we’re looking at some different options there to see if we can do that.”

Strasburg replaced water and sewer lines on King Street before beginning the work on the project’s first two phases. The town also will replace some of the utility lines in the third phase but possibly not to the same extent, Rex said. Utility lines are different in the block of King Street slated for the next phase.

Downtown Manager Felicia Hart told council on Tuesday that the streetscape team plans to meet in November to talk about lessons learned with the work on the first two phases as the town moves forward with the next phase.

The fourth and final phase of the streetscape project will extend the work on King Street from Massanutten Street to the CSX Railroad.

Strasburg officials also are working with a consulting firm on potential uses for public open space near the former Brill grocery store building and Town Hall on King Street.

“Whatever we design and move forward with on the Brill property we’ll want to coordinate with the streetscape design,” Rex said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com