One-way Main Street vetoed

FRONT ROYAL – The Town Council decided at its Monday work session to leave Main Street the way it is and drop a proposal to make a portion of it one-way.

The decision to leave the matter out of future meetings came after a recent survey showed citizen opposition to the proposal.

Of the survey’s 311 responses over two months, 65 percent were opposed to a one-way Main Street. The group with the highest level of opposition was those who visit Main Street more than twice a week.

Councilman Eugene Tewalt said if the matter came up for vote he would likely not approve it due to the survey results. He noted that in the past Main Street has been one-way in both directions, but has remained in its current form since 1985.

Councilman Gary Gillispie said his main concern with the switch to one-way is the potential traffic increases on residential and side streets. Tewalt seconded, noting that if Main Street became one-way, South and Second streets would be the town’s only through routes.

Making Main Street one-way was initially proposed because business owners were interested in increasing parking spaces. Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Camp noted that business owners who participated in the survey were slightly in favor. A one-way Main Street would allow the addition of 14 parking spaces, bringing the total to 38. Estimated costs for re-signing and re-striping were $11,700.

Main Street’s width is 30 feet, which does not meet the Virginia Department of Transportation’s 32-foot width requirement for head-on diagonal parking, Camp said. VDOT provides funding for each mile of secondary streets, and Camp said disregarding the width standard may result in a loss of that funding.

Parking concerns may be eased with the town’s recently awarded $700,000 Community Development Block Grant, of which Camp said a portion may be used to add parking on East Jackson Street.

Councilman Jacob Meza added that he would like to continue examining possible solutions for the lack of downtown parking.