Rumble-Stripping 240 Near Highlands

This used to be a narrow shoulder. Then they paved it and made it a wider shoulder, which served as a wonderful bike lane.

Then they rumble-stripped it.   As someone who rides a bicycle and drives there frequently, I hate this new “feature.”

Rumble-strip near Highlands


I posted the question on Facebook;  the consensus is that the rumble-stripped the road because people driving cars keep running off the road.

Alison’s response wins, and I encourage folks to act as they see fit: (bolding mine)

The driver who ended up in our yard actually passed two breathalyzers. She was sober, there was no bad weather, it was light out, nothing in the road. We assume she was looking at her phone as it was in her hand when my husband got to her car seconds after she crashed. She had two fence posts go through her windshield on either side of her head. She was lucky to have nothing more than a couple gashes. She went through two back fences, took out several mature trees, missed our kids play structure by literally inches, and broke through our side fence, stopping feet from our neighbor who was unloading groceries in her driveway. That same neighbor had a car go through their yard a few months earlier.

So we and several others on our street have been begging VDOT for a guardrail since this happened and they have repeatedly shot it down as too dangerous for the drivers. We also asked them to lower the speed limit to match the section of 240 near Western Ridge and they refused to do that as well. What they did do is pave the shoulder (because the drop off was soft and didn’t allow drivers the opportunity to self-correct) and put in the rumble strips. We told them it was not enough but after 11 months of asking that was what we were given. Anne Mallek even spoke up for us and they didn’t budge.
That being said, I would urge anyone who is unhappy with this situation to call VDOT and tell them! There are houses on our street where the drop off from 240 is very steep and any car going off the road would be in their living room in seconds. People regularly drive too fast and we have spent many nights watching them swerve in and out of the lane lines for no apparent reason. So we are not giving up.

If you’re willing to help, you can reach our Charlottesville Residency Administrator at VDOT at 434-422-9373. Express your safety concerns/unhappiness with not having a bike lane/frustration with wasteful spending… If enough people speak up maybe they will reconsider. We won’t get what we don’t ask for. Thanks!

Two of my thoughts:
1 – Focusing on building roads solely for cars is profoundly short-sighted and irresponsible, especially for a community seeking to encourage people to ride bicycles and to walk places.
2 – Maybe not building neighborhoods so close to a busy and getting-busier road?
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4 Replies to “Rumble-Stripping 240 Near Highlands”

  1. I am seeing a trend here. The State tries to do things for the greater good. For the majority
    of drivers in the STATE do these rumble strips provide a benefit? They are on more roads than this one. If Crozet was an actual town instead of an unincorporated community it could
    request that the State not use these within it’s limits.It could also push towards more bike lanes if a majority of people actually wanted them. Considering that bikes can already use
    any public road except Interstate Highways I don’t think that many people will be giving up any land to put these on. And guard rails are designed to reasonably contain a car without
    killing the driver. It is not unusual to see a vehicle that has driven over or through one.
    Like the beer joint on Route 250 west, people sitting in gravel next to a busy road. It does
    not appear to me that many share your concerns… Good luck with it though.

  2. I understand Highland homeowners concerns and don’t understand how guardrails endanger a driver on a road with a 45 MPH speed limit. The community got guardrails further east of this spot, where 240 goes down the hill. It seems like this section has both a hill and other humans outside the car that could be injured by car departing the roadway. I think we should continue to lobby for a guardrail and paving over the rumble strip, so it’s a bike-able pathway again.

    I also think we need to teach how to handle your car when you leave the road, you DON”T turn back – you drive straight, slow down, get control, then return to roadway. It’s worth EVERYONE practicing this – first at slow speed -10-20 mph – then faster as you gain practice with the technique. Pick gravel shoulders that have a wide margin past them. One day it may save your life. A valued and wonderful community member died last week because of failure to handle running off the road safely. I had a friend die a more than a decade ago on 250 near Ivy in similar circumstances. You can’t know all the details, but running off the shoulder of a roadway should never be fatal. It’s the over-correcting, followed by loss of control that creates the crash.

    1. Speed is not the only factor when hitting a guardrail. The angle of impact, height and
      weight of a vehicle, etc… There is personal responsibility as well. You come to an area, buy property next to a road, then complain about the road. Makes perfect sense to me. The road is already bike-able, why take away a safety benefit for the
      majority of the users of the road. The community got guardrails??? Or, were these scheduled to be done due to certain conditions being met? Road are paved and
      updated on a schedule based on traffic and other factors. And where are people supposed to practice your driving tips? There are no general rules when trying to keep from killing yourself in a motor vehicle. You can have several meeting on this
      and render an opinion but, that is about it. And really, Did I miss an election?
      I am quite sure that there is more demand for parking spaces than bike lanes…

Something to say?