What if … they widened 250?

Might be more than a “what if” and more “when they” …

From Charlottesville Tomorrow:

In other news, the Federal Highway Administration has awarded a $100,000 grant to the MPO to study I-64 from exit 87 in Staunton to exit 124 at Pantops. The organization will work with its equivalents in Staunton and Waynesboro, as well as VDOT.

The goal is to find ways to improve traffic, relieve congestion and prevent crashes in a 40-mile stretch that crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“This project will be a two-fold mission,” said Chip Boyles, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. “The biggest mission is to develop and promote a planning tool that FHWA uses and they’re trying to get MPOs to use to coordinate planning between multiple jurisdictions.”

Boyles said the second mission is to come up with high-level concepts of what can be built to help address the issues.

“It’s not just looking at I-64 but maybe looking at transit opportunities and possible changes to 250 so that it can handle a larger capacity when people have to detour onto it,” he said.

The Charlottesville MPO will hold a joint meeting with the Staunton-Waynesboro MPO in the fall to discuss the issue further.

Update, sent in from an offline commenter

Also from Charlottesville Tomorrow, this time in 2009: (bolding mine, and you should read the whole story)

VDOT’s final report in January 2000 recommended the widening of 250 west to four lanes between the US 29/250 Bypass near the Bellair neighborhood all the way to the railroad trestle crossing the Mechums River.

Scenic 250 vigorously opposed the road’s widening, a recommendation that VDOT made over the objections of the citizen committee participating in the study. The public argued that it made no sense to widen 250 when it ran parallel to the existing I-64.

With the strong support of Supervisor Sally H. Thomas , the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in May 2000 that committed the county to protecting the road as a two-lane scenic corridor all the way west to the county line. VDOT conceded that 250 was used largely for local traffic, and if residents wanted to deal with the congestion, that could be a local choice.

And for kicks and giggles and a bit further thought:

Portland’s drop in car use frees up $138 million in our local economy every year

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12 Replies to “What if … they widened 250?”

  1. Cannot happen soon enough. 250 is an outdated, overtaxed, unsafe highway barely deserving the designation ‘U.S. Route’. It should be a dual-lane (each way) divided highway from Cville at least as far as VA 151. Traffic lights are needed at VA 151, the entrance to Harris Teeter, and 250/240 at the big bend.

      1. Jim ,
        Totally agree about roundabouts at HT and 250/240. Roundabouts keep traffic moving all the time. The more roundabouts, the more people will understand to slow down, yield, and keep moving.
        Another perfect place for a roundabout is Owensville Road, Morgantown Road and Rte 250 in Ivy.

    1. Route 250 is not unsafe. It is a well maintained road that gets busy at times. Whether this qualifies to spend millions of dollars to widen and destroy the natural beauty of the area is up to the people to decide. A western bypass around Charlottesville was rejected for similar reasons. If you need a traffic control in order to turn into Harris Teeter that sounds like a personal issue to me.
      Stop the tract housing along the road and the problem will go away. There are plenty of urban areas that are close enough for anyone that desires to live in one.

    2. I agree that traffic signals or circles are needed at those 3 intersections! They are getting more dangerous as time goes on and the population increases.

  2. I live on Morgantown Road in Ivy and my children go to Henley and Western Albemarle HS. Just try turning left onto Rt. 250 from Morgantown to go toward Crozet and see if you think improvements don’t need to be made. It is nerve-wracking for me as a seasoned adult driver, but I have nightmares thinking about my 16 year old child making that turn and negotiating the rush hour traffic between our house and WAHS. Also, if you are on Browns Gap Turnpike and want to turn left onto 250 and head toward Charlottesville, you are putting your life and the lives of those in the automobile with you at risk. A traffic circle at Rt. 240/ Rt. 250 would be a wonderful improvement to a gnarly traffic situation.

  3. I take a left from 680 onto 250 daily, it doesn’t seem *unsafe* to me, although sometimes it takes patience. That said, I think a traffic circle there makes all kinds of sense, more than the weird median-triangle-with-a-stop-sign that is in use now. I do wonder how people will get in an out of the new business that is gearing up on that corner– if everyone obeyed the 35mph posted speed through the intersection it would be fine, the problem is the speeders.

  4. I agree, Heidi – the speeders at the 240/250 intersection make it much more dangerous. Also, how about a traffic circle at the Owensville/ Morgantown/ 250 intersection? You can sit on Owensville for ten minutes trying to turn left onto 250 most mornings.

    1. Yes! A traffic circle at Owensville/ Morgantown/ 250 would slow traffic on Rte 250 and allow those coming out at Owensville or Morgantown Roads to enter safely, as well as slow traffic near the Ivy Depot nursery & Toddsbury. All good things.

      1. The whole point of this thread was the possibility of widening Route #250 so as to better handle traffic when I 64 is closed because of weather or accidents. Traffic Circles take far more land than other traffic controls and is beyond what the State usually gets when right of way is bought.
        Traffic Circles also do not handle large volumes of traffic well and other problems. Orange is a good example, a wreck
        or people slow to get on/off really backs things up.
        The speed limit of Route 250 outside of towns is usually 55 mph. Speeders can be a problem as well as cars that travel 40/45 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. This creates long lines of vehicles that just clog up the road. Passing zones are there for a reason but most seem happy just to follow. It seems that the question to me is whether people want to destroy more of the natural beauty of the area to get a wider road and, encourage more people to move here. Creating a more
        Urban looking road with bike lanes and all the other nonsense creates nothing but more bottlenecks for traffic.
        It should be made against the law to create another C’ville
        style Route 29… Rush hour traffic is something that all
        bedroom communities have to get used to.

Something to say?