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Community members expressed concern at both the volume of traffic (I-95 overflow, summer/weekend travel, and “rush hour” traffic) as well as consistent speeding on Jamestown Road. Police Department staff shared that during I-95 and Rte 1 backups they try to station officers at Jamestown Road to limit use of the road and reduce speeds on the road. They have gone so far as to drop “police reported ahead” pins on Waze and Google Maps as well as driving very slowly down the road to reduce the noted speed the GPS algorithm’s are seeing in traffic. Police staff also asked residents assistance in identifying areas where they can park to run radar to reduce speeds. Several locations were identified. Some residents also shared concerns that police are targeting community members rather than out of towners, and police staff reiterated that they don’t target anyone except those violating the law…in this case speeders.
The Town Manager also shared that Henrico County has installed signs saying something similar to, “Please ignore your GPS. This is not a cut through Street”. He instructed the Public Works Director to find out more about these signs and evaluate whether they would be appropriate to add at Jamestown Road. He also made clear that while these signs may modify some behavior, they are not legally enforceable. Residents can expect to see an increased police presence in the weeks and months to come based upon feedback received at this meeting.
Follow Up: Public Works investigated options and will install a large sign southbound stating to Ignore GPS and that there is no left turn for thru traffic onto Jamestown Road. Sign is not a typical sign and needs to be specifically fabricated. Staff will install once complete.
As statistical backup to these statements regarding targeting of Jamestown residents Chief Aronhalt shared the following information to be shared with Jamestown residents.
2022 98 summonses written 0 summons issued to residents.
2023 10 summonses written 0 summonses issued to residents.
In 2022 we issued summonses to Ashland residents on Jamestown, but none had their residential address on Jamestown. One individual had a post office box in Ashland. It is possible they could reside on Jamestown. As a result, this is a perception and not a reality.
The Town Manager and Public Works Director shared history on a similar request 10-15 years ago where temporary speed bumps were installed and subsequently removed because neighbors were very unhappy having to regularly navigate the bumps as well as the nuisance of the sound associated with cars going over the bumps and subsequently accelerating. Even with this prior history the Town Manager instructed the Public Works Director to review Jamestown Road considering the Town’s traffic calming program to evaluate what additional measures, to include speed bumps, could be implemented to reduce speeds and deter overflow traffic. By a show of hands approximately 50-60% of the individuals in the room were in favor of installing speed bumps.
Follow Up: The Town Public Works Department did a field review and they will have a double yellow line striped down the middle of the roadway to keep drivers on their side of the road and help slow down traffic speeds. Staff will also make sure the road is adequately signed for 25 MPH and re-apply the 25 MPH painted in several locations on the roadway. These activities are early stage solutions in the Town’s traffic calming program.
The Town Manager indicated that a light has been considered, but is a long ways off from being warranted at this time. He shared that it is more likely a light will be installed at Archie Cannon Road and Rte. 1 in the relatively near future. The Public Works Director talked about traffic signal warrants, which are the set of requirements that should be met to install a traffic light. He indicated traffic volumes and accident thresholds have not been met at the location and based on current traffic volumes and patterns he did not expect them to be met soon. The Town Manager asked the Public Works Director to research if there is a waiver process to the warrants needed for a signal.
Follow Up: Public Works indicates traffic signals should only be installed when meeting nationally recognized traffic warrants, which there are 9. Problems created by an unwarranted signal include excessive delay, increased rerouting of traffic to less appropriate roads or intersections, higher crash rates and disobedience of the traffic signal. The warrants that apply to this type of intersection are the ones dealing with traffic volumes, accident history, and pedestrian volumes. None of those warrants are currently met to install a traffic signal at that intersection. We will monitor the intersection to see when it is warranted and with keeping in mind that we would need to budget for around $500,000.00 at today’s costs.
Mr. Jennings shared the history of paving on the road (last done in 2011) and surrounding roads. He also shared that paving of roads is based upon a combination of planned paving of roads every 10-15 years combined with annual evaluation of the condition of various roads done by VDOT and Town staff. He indicated the next paving of Jamestown Road was scheduled for a few years from now. The Town Manager indicated he would work with the Public Works Director and Town Council through FY24 budget process to move paving of Jamestown Road up the priority list.
Follow Up: While the road is still in good condition and not in immediate need of repaving staff have moved another road down the priority list and Jamestown Road up the list so that paving will occur in this fiscal year (that means it will be done by June 30, 2023.) This repaving will occur along the entire length of Jamestown Road.
The Town Manager and Public Works Director shared that this was a topic of conversation in 2011 as well, and that Town Council had gone so far as to budget to construct sidewalks. As part of planning for that project the Town surveyed members of the community about whether they wanted sidewalks in their community and whether they would be willing to donate/work with the Town to provide the necessary right of way (ROW) to construct the sidewalk. Due to the historic development of Jamestown Road there is insufficient ROW to build a five foot sidewalk which would necessitate working with the neighbors. Based on survey results and a perceived lack of willingness of neighbors to work with the Town to provide ROW the sidewalk project was abandoned at that time. Town staff indicated they would welcome the opportunity to budget and construct a sidewalk in the neighborhood, but it would require a very significant amount of cooperation by the neighborhood to address the ROW issue.
Follow Up: Jamestown Road is still not on the sidewalk priority list based on history. If residents would like to get a sidewalk on the list Town staff request that a group of neighborhood citizens agree to work with the Town on location, need, and siting of a future sidewalk. Please reach out to Martha Miller at email@example.com if you would like to volunteer.
Beyond a sidewalk the Town’s contractor will widen Jamestown to the greatest extent possible while paving. Unfortunately, due to limited right of way this will likely only gain an additional six inches.
Ashland police indicated this was not a Town staff person and was done without staff knowledge. If community members would like the police to speak with the individual they will need to contact APD when the individual is there so police can take appropriate action.
The Ashland District Representative to the Board of Supervisors for Hanover County, Faye Prichard, attempted to provide some information, but committed to find out and share information for community members. Mayor Steve Trivett provided some basic background information about census and population changes and the various borders that make up Ashland.
Follow Up: The following response was received from Assistant Superintendent Chris Whitely:
“School attendance zones have been established and unchanged for quite some time across Hanover County. While we are not aware of any significant adjustments to attendance zones in over a decade, according to “A History of Education in Hanover County”, a book published in 2010, in 2006-07 new elementary school zones were established for Kersey Creek Elementary School, which opened in September 2006, and the zones for Pearson’s Corner, Washington-Henry, Henry Clay, and John M. Gandy elementary schools were modified at that time. Laurel Meadow Elementary School opened in September 2008, also requiring a shift in zones. Since these are Hanover County owned and operated schools, they serve students throughout the county, so attendance zones are not specific to the Town of Ashland. The established attendance zones generally align with major roadways (i.e., Interstate 95, Route 1, Route 301, Route 54, Route 360, etc.) and account for density in housing to help avoid overcrowding within our schools. The established attendance zones balance student enrollment with available capacity within each of our schools, which is continually monitored and evaluated to determine if any boundary adjustments may be necessary to maintain this balance.”
Staff indicated they were not in a position to discuss individual cases at this meeting, but would be happy to sit down and research answers to specific concerns at a later date. On the larger question staff and Mayor Trivett explained that it is a combination of Town zoning rules (and thus Town Planning staff) and the Hanover County Building Department that determine what can and cannot be built. Mayor Trivett explained that zoning classifications are uniform across the Town rather than based upon the individual neighborhood. For example, if most of your neighborhood is zoned R-1 and another neighborhood on the other side of Town is zoned R-1 then the standards for both neighborhoods are exactly the same.
Town staff checked and there are no outstanding building permits subsequent to the court case involving this property. The Town’s Planning & Community Development Director will call the individual to clarify and discuss the issue.
Ashland Police Department were aware of the smell and will reach out to Hanover Public Utilities on the communities behalf.
Follow Up: Chief Aronhalt subsequently called Hanover County Department of Public Utilities and their staff responded to change media filters on Monday March 6, 2023.
Ashland Public Works will review the area for concerning branches and trees. If in the public ROW the Town will address problems. If on private property they will speak with the property owner.
Follow Up: Staff reviewed the roadway and found the dead trees mentioned at the meeting across from 10194 Jamestown Road. Staff has already removed the dead trees. As far as branches go, they seemed to be alive, having buds on them, and did not seem to be a concern of falling. Staff will continue to monitor the roadway corridor and remove any trees or branches as necessary. We will also work with homeowners if tress are located outside the right-of-way.
Ashland Public Works will evaluate the conditions and needs for a streetlight.
Follow Up: The Town typically only installs street lights along neighborhood streets and this portion of Jamestown Road is commercial and industrial in nature. Street lights installed in industrial and commercial areas are typically done by the business. If Jamestown residents would like a light installed on this portion of the road please reconfirm your desire for such by emailing Mrs. Martha Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.