Thursday, January 13, 2011

Report recommends Millwood closure (NVDaily)

A consultant’s recommendation to the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization includes closing a stretch of Millwood Avenue near Shenandoah University. 

Dennis Grundman/Daily 

By J.R. Williams --
January 13, 2011

WINCHESTER -- A transportation consultant has recommended closing Millwood Avenue between Jubal Early Drive and Apple Blossom Drive as the best alternative to the area's current traffic pattern.

A draft report prepared by Washington-based Gorove/Slade Associates Inc., which includes the non-binding recommendation, was released Wednesday by the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization, a regional planning body that commissioned the study.

The study is the result of a comprehensive traffic analysis, input from several public workshops and other submitted comments. Eight scenarios for the area were developed and considered, including leaving Millwood open or closing other nearby roads.

Gorove/Slade has recommended closing the Millwood Avenue stretch, constructing a right-turn lane for westbound traffic on Jubal Early at its intersection with Apple Blossom Drive and adding a traffic signal near where Lowry Drive intersects Apple Blossom.

The report says the alternative was selected because it improves safety, convenience and appearance. Improvements are estimated to cost $1.73 million.

Public comment also swayed toward that alternative, the report says.

"From the comments it was apparent that there were strong opinions among different groups and interests that participated," it says, noting the concerns of critics who said they were not well-represented.

However, "The majority of the comments from the public sessions concluded that [the selected alternative] had the most merit," it says.

Gorove/Slade also recommended additional measures to consider if the plan is implemented, including a suggested route for the Green Circle Trail and implementing updated signs. It also recommends renaming Apple Blossom, north of Jubal Early, to Millwood Avenue for continuity.

MPO officials are expected to review the draft report at two meetings scheduled for Wednesday.

The Citizens Advisory and Technical Advisory committees will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room at the Frederick County office complex, 107 N. Kent St., Winchester.

The MPO Policy Board will meet at 10 a.m. in a first-floor conference room at the same address.

After reviewing the study, the policy board will decide on the next step and whether to schedule another meeting for public comment.

Chris Price, executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission and MPO secretary, has said such a meeting is likely.

The MPO ultimately will make a recommendation based on public comment and the Gorove/Slade analysis, but final authority over the matter rests with the Winchester City Council.

The full study, including all public comment collected to date, is posted to the NSVRC website at Click on "Commission News."

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