PWC Board Condemns Eastern PWC To Increased Traffic Congestion

On a 5-3 vote yesterday, PWC residents on the eastern end of the county, in particular the communities of Ashland and Montclair, lost in a big way. The Board of County Supervisors, in an ill-conceived plan to derail the equally ill-conceived proposed Bi-County Parkway, passed a change to the county’s comprehensive plan restricting Route 234 to 4 lanes. This denies residents much needed future traffic relief and will only serve to clog the roads within Montclair, in particular Waterway Drive.

I agree with the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce on this issue. This “solution” of limiting Route 234 to four lanes is an overreaction. Route 234 is already six lanes from Route 1 across I-95 and right up to the first entrance to Montclair at Country Club Drive (I’ll give you three guesses as to which local elected official uses that road and your first two don’t count.)

All this will do is ensure that people exiting Montclair from its north entrance at Waterway Drive will either get caught up in traffic on 234 or create additional traffic on interior roads within Montclair for the rest of its residents. It also puts the squeeze on residents of the Ashland community just north of Montclair.

Too often, the “solutions” some elected officials put forward to problems are such overreactions as to generate new problems from the unintended consequences. You can stop the Bi-County Parkway without restricting the ability to widen 234 to accommodate the traffic that already exists and what is in the pipeline from future developments that have been approved.  Instead, residents in eastern PWC have been condemned to increased traffic congestion.  It will only be a matter of time before traffic lights begin popping up along Waterway Drive and other side roads that are taking on the overflow from 234.


9 thoughts on “PWC Board Condemns Eastern PWC To Increased Traffic Congestion

  1. Very sad decision. I thought the state has standards….like 22,000 vehicles an hour (during rush hour) warrants 6 lanes………….or number similar to this…………..and certainly 234 needs 6 now or very soon….

  2. Good points all. You are exactly right that they didn’t need to take this step to stop the Bi-County. An odd overreaction.

  3. I disagree (and support Ms Caddigan on this). This resolution does not PREVENT future decisions to widen the road if needed. It is in response to the BCP and with this decision makes the BCP a lot less attractive. Supervisor May had it right (and to her credit, again, Supervisor Caddigan agreed) that if the BCP was not an issue this resolution would not be needed. I am happy the resolution “won” since unfortunately the BCP is still a possibility and the increased traffic that will come to 234 is unacceptable. The analysis by staff generated numbers that an expected BCP with the additional outer beltway traffic would create. I am sure that the numbers would be significantly different if the BCP was taken out of the analysis and therefore the adjacent roadways would not be impacted to the degree that staff portrayed. I almost always disagree with Supervisor Caddigan but I have to give her props for this.

    1. There was a much simpler way to do this — wait a week and remove the BCP from the plan. There was no rush to do this to prevent shovels from being dug in. It was a short-sighted and politically expedient move, which is why I give Mike May props for standing up to this.

    2. Yep, we have an outstanding Supervisor in Mike May……………btw, investors can up the price of the land that will eventually go to 6-laning 234………….this will screw taxpayers all the more…

  4. Simple only if you believe that the BCP WILL be removed. I always call for maximum effect fire on target. Regardless of whether May will be successful, initiating this amendment was useful to chip away at the foundation of the BCP. I never believed Connaughton when he stated that 234 would not be limited access/HOV/HOT. Just words and not very believable when you consider the source. I was worried Caddigan would fall for it and I have to say she did not and actually voiced that concern in her remarks.
    Regarding the price of land on 234, isn’t the land already in possession of the state. That was the big threat they used – PWC would have to repay them if it is not used. I am sure the state will hold on to it because at some point in the future it will be needed. However, I don’t advocate we do it now so we can provide (meaning pay for) the 6-lane road to riches the developers are expecting.

    1. This wouldn’t stop the state or the federal government from building the BCP if they wanted to, only the county. Don’t forget, we are a Dillon Rule state and the county only has the powers that the state grants to it. (Another reason why that silly rule should be relegated to the ash heap of history.) Either of those entities could come in, pat the BOCS on the head and say, “Oh, isn’t that cute that you amended your comprehensive plan. By the way, that doesn’t apply to us, so step aside. We’ve got bulldozers ready to go.”

      The only thing this actually accomplishes is ensuring the county won’t do anything to alleviate current or future gridlock in the eastern half of the county along 234.

  5. Totally agree with you on the Dillon Rule. However, as you implied the state could come in any time and build what they want, be it the BCP or a 6-lane 234. The primary effect that this vote accomplishes is it builds up the opposition to the BCP. It may not have a direct effect but when combined with all the other opposing actions makes it harder for the state to go ahead with the BCP. The CDP is a plan and it can change down the road as required but right now, the intent of the Board to initiate a review of this amendment sends a strong signal against the BCP. Others on the Board may see this as not having a direct impact on the BCP since they voted for it but still supposedly support the BCP, but I have a strong suspicion that the goal of the Connaughton/Developer crowd is the whole enchilada which includes a 6-lane limited access highway from 95 to the BCP and beyond. This is just one shot in the war. Not a kill shot but at least an effort that will help motivate the warriors (kind of like Mitchell’s Tokyo Raid in WWII).

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