End of the cul-de-sac

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April 10, 2009

4:10 AM

The Virginia Department of Transportation has recently issued regulations on secondary roadways that prohibit the construction of any new cul-de-sacs in any new residential or commercial developments.

According to Reed Nester, planning director for the City of Williamsburg, the purpose of the regulation is to increase interconnectivity within communities, improve traffic flow and facilitate emergency response. The regulations would not affect existing cul-de-sacs unless they were to expand.

Nester said the regulations will have more of an impact on the surrounding counties than in Williamsburg.

“The city is for the most part responsible for improving its streets,” Nester said. “We do use VDOT standards as a guide.”

Nester said that the Williamsburg Planning Commission had already been trying to reduce the number of
developments with cul-de-sacs in Williamsburg before the VDOT regulations were officially presented.

“The issue of not building cul-de-sacs is something we’ve been looking into for a while,” Nester said. “We try where we can to have connections between residential and community developments.”

Transportation in downtown Williamsburg, including Colonial Williamsburg and the surrounding area, already relies on secondary streets, which are arranged in a grid pattern. On this account, Nester said there are many available routes.

The Planning Commission has already required contractors to build connections between developments. For example, Nester explained that the connecting streets between Yankee Candle Company and Olive Garden were put in place to discourage drivers from using Richmond Road.

“We’re continually looking at residential and community properties for possible ways to get from one area to another without going on any major roads,” Nester said.

Several residential developments, such as neighborhoods around Treyburn Drive and the Quarterpath development, also have connecting roads to limit traffic on U.S. Route 60 and Jamestown Road.

However, many of the developments Nester mentioned are not those in which students typically live.

Many students who don’t live on campus find major roads such as Richmond or Jamestown Rd. unavoidable.

Jenise Lacks ’11, who lives off campus, says she often sits in traffic on the major roads around the College on her way to classes.

“I usually get stuck [in traffic] at stoplights,” she said. “I’m late for class a lot.”

The VDOT regulations will go into effect July 1.

An informational meeting will be held for the Williamsburg area April 23 to discuss the changes.

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