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Deep Creek Town Meeting held February 4, 2014
Following are responses to issues, grouped under headings, raised at the Deep Creek Town Meeting.
AIW Deep Creek Bridge/Traffic Congestion along Moses Grandy Trail, Old Route 17, George Washington Highway and at Entrance to Deep Creek Schools
Traffic studies have been completed and approved by Public Works to address the capacity and safety issues in this area. Traffic congestion in this area is due to the "bottle-neck" caused by the 2-lane Deep Creek Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. The City does have a plan to replace the existing obsolete 2-lane drawbridge with 5-lane drawbridge and associated intersection/roadway improvements. This project will also include associated roadway/intersection improvements and the installation of a new traffic signal on the east side of the bridge at the intersection of George Washington Highway South and Moses Grandy Trail which will greatly improve travel times and traffic flow through the George Washington Highway and Moses Grandy Trail corridors. This bridge is currently owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. At the City's request, the bridge replacement project has been added to the current Hampton Roads Long-Range Transportation Plan. The improvement plans are now 90% complete. Although a Federal project, the City is seeking both State and Federal funding assistance for the construction. A construction timeframe has not been established since full construction funding has yet to be secured. During the interim, crossing guard operations will continue to be provided to assist school traffic in the mornings and afternoons.
The City of Chesapeake has expended over $25 million in recent years to address traffic congestion and safety in the Deep Creek Area. This includes construction of Moses Grandy Trail, as well as the widening of George Washington Highway. As such, the Deep Creek Bridge remains the sole bottleneck along this corridor. Traffic Engineering staff will continue to monitor traffic volumes in this area, and adjust signal timings accordingly at the intersection of George Washington Highway and Mill Creek Parkway. The current signal timings are appropriate for the existing conditions and provide the least amount of vehicle delay to the overall operation of the signal. With just two lanes crossing the Deep Creek Bridge, the traffic demand will exceed the roadway capacity for this intersection during peak traffic periods, resulting in motorists sitting through multiple signal cycles. Unfortunately, this deficiency will not be corrected until the Deep Creek Bridge is replaced. In the interim, we will continue to monitor and adjust signal timings to maximize traffic flow in this area.
Traffic Safety Mosses Grandy Trail and George Washington Highway/Speeding Mill Creek Parkway/Failing to Follow Road Signs at Intersection of Mistletoe Parkway
The Police Department has established a traffic enforcement plan for this area, to include all concerns. Moses Grandy Trail is checked periodically throughout the day for speeding violations, and the junction of George Washington Highway, Mill Creek Parkway, and Moses Grandy Trail is monitored during morning and even rush hours. Enforcement action is taken as violations are observed. To date, the Department has issued over 65 traffic summonses.
Traffic direction by police officers was considered during rush hours, but was deemed unsafe for motorists and public safety personnel due to the proximity of multiple intersections, traffic control devices, and lane channeling. The Department will continue to focus on traffic enforcement efforts in this area and assess periodically to determine if any modification to the plan is needed.
Department of Public Works staff also completed a site review. Staff will work with the Police Department regarding speeding on Mill Creek Parkway and provide speed trailers if needed.
Removal of Median Near Food Lion
The median and the road section along Moses Grandy Trail in front of the Food Lion Shopping Center is planned to be improved with the City project that will replace the Deep Creek Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. The root cause of the traffic issues and congestion experienced along this corridor is directly related to the existing 2-lane Deep Creek Bridge. Until such time as the bridge is replaced, re-configuring or removal the existing median along Moses Grandy Trail is not recommended. Openings in the median along a divided roadway are spaced at intervals that will allow the opening to be located where it will not conflict, or direct traffic across a turn-lane. Removing the median or adding a new opening would involve displacing the turn lanes which would be a significant change to the traffic pattern and shopping center access.
Traffic signal timings at Mill Creek Parkway, George Washington Highway, Old Mills Road and Deep Creek Baptist Church
Traffic Engineering Division staff reviewed the signal timings at these areas. They found that the current signal timings are appropriate for the existing conditions and provide the least amount of vehicle delay to the overall operation of the signal. During peak travel times, the traffic demand will exceed the roadway capacity for this intersection resulting in a motorist sitting through several cycles. This deficiency will be corrected by the Deep Creek (AIW) Bridge Replacement Project. The limited capacity of this intersection and the primary cause of congestion along the George Washington Highway Corridor is largely due to the 2-lane bridge. The project will include major improvements to the intersection at Mill Creek and George Washington Highway as well as the installation of a new signal at the intersection at S. George Washington Highway and Moses Grandy Trail. These improvements will greatly improve the traffic conditions at these intersections. Until these improvements can be made, the Traffic Engineering Division will continue to monitor and adjust the signal timings as needed to best manage the traffic demand.
Flashing Yellow Traffic Signal Late Night/Turn Signal Timing on Mosses Grandy Trail
The City does not currently operate any signalized intersection in a "flash" mode during the late night hours. Traffic safety studies have documented that there is an increased risk of crashes when operating signals in the flash-mode and the type of crash is more likely to be a high speed/injury type of accident. The signal at the intersection of Moses Grandy Trail and Millville Road is equipped with vehicle detection that will change the signal to a "green" phase when a vehicle is detected on Millville Road. This signal configuration provides safe and positive right-of-way control and minimizes undue delay during periods when traffic volume is low. With regard to the turn signal timings at Moses Grandy Trail, our staff checked the signal operation and observed traffic during the afternoon peak travel period. The signal controller and vehicle detection were found to be working correctly. The left-turning movements were found to clear on each cycle during periods of heavy traffic flow along Moses Grandy Trail. The left-turn phasing is appropriate for the exiting traffic conditions and provides the least amount of vehicle delay to the overall operation of the signal. Our staff will continue to monitor traffic volumes at this intersection and adjust the signal timing accordingly.
Better Signage for Route 17
The Department of Public Works will install additional guide signs for Route 17 at the intersection of S. George Washington Highway and Moses Grandy Trail.
Possible Tolls on High Rise Bridge
The Virginia Department of Transportation is currently undertaking an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the widening of I-64 from I-664/I-264 to I-464, which includes the replacement of the High Rise Bridge and associated interchange modifications. The purpose of the EA is to evaluate alternative solutions to address insufficient transportation capacity and improve roadway and bridge deficiencies throughout the corridor. A Citizen Information Meeting was held on September 18, 2013 at Deep Creek High School, and a Location Study Public Hearing is tentatively scheduled to be held in October 2014.
This improvement has been identified as the City of Chesapeake's highest priority Interstate project for more than a decade. As such, on January 14, 2014, Chesapeake City Council adopted a resolution in support of the proposed improvements, including replacement of the High Rise Bridge with a fixed-span, 95' bridge. A funding plan has not yet been developed, but it is anticipated that revenues from the Hampton Roads Trust Fund, which was created as part of last year's General Assembly actions, would fund part, if not all of the project. At this time, there are no plans to toll this portion of I-64.
In addition, the widening of George Washington Highway between Yadkin Road and Canal Drive is identified on the regional Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). This project will widen the existing 3-lane roadway section to a 4-lane divided roadway and will make associated intersections improvements at the Military Highway intersection. However, no funding source has been identified yet.
Future Toll on Dominion
In terms of diverted traffic due to future tolls on Dominion Boulevard, City Council adopted a toll rate schedule that provides the lowest possible cost to roadway users, while still covering the necessary operations and maintenance costs, as well as debt obligations. The initial toll rate will be $1 when the roadway is fully opened in early 2017. The cost of the tolls are largely offset by the cost of fuel consumption alone. Note this does not factor in time savings, which will be considerable during peak travel times.
Dominion Boulevard Project
The contractual completion date for the Dominion Project is April 2017, and the project is currently on schedule and within budget.
Impact of Toll Implemented on Downtown and Midtown Tunnels
The immediate and long-term impact that the newly implemented tolls will have on our roadways is being closely monitored and reported by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO). The initial report released by the HRTPO shows that during the first week of tolling, daily traffic volumes increased by 34% at the Gilmerton Bridge and 15% at the High Rise Bridge. This is the first of several reports that will document before and after conditions on roadways impacted by the tolls. The HRTPO is scheduled to produce the final report, Discovering and Mitigating the Impact of Tolls at the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels study, in the fall of 2014. This study will make recommendations for improvements to intersections on diversion routes to include the George Washington Highway and Military Highway corridors.
Two Right-Turn Lanes onto George Washington Highway from Military Highway
The City's Traffic Operations Division will install a "Dead End" sign at the entrance to the access road just west of George Washington Highway. This will alert motorists to the fact that the access road is not an exit for George Washington Highway.
Locked Restrooms at Dismal Swamp Canal Trail
Construction of the new restrooms has not been completed and the restrooms have not been opened. There have been attempts to obtain potable water to meet code requirements, including digging two wells and treatment processes. City staff have been working with the Health Department and several manufacturers on a number of potential water treatment options, the latest being a tank system.
Future Plans for Deep Creek Park
Phase II (5-7 year plan): includes the construction of 4 multipurpose fields with lighting, athletic lighting for 2 multipurpose fields, additional parking lots, additional picnic areas, and an extended trail system. Funding required: $6,800,000.
Phase III (7-10 year plan): includes the construction of 4 softball fields with lighting, 4 full-size basketball courts, 4 volleyball courts, 4 tennis courts with lighting, additional parking lots, 6 horseshoe courts, and additional picnic areas. Funding required $6,500,000.
Phase IV (10-15 year plan): includes a 75,000 sq/ft community center and additional parking and associated infrastructure. Funding required $15,000,000.
Funding required for each phase has not been appropriated by the City and is subject to annual revision.
Status of Olde Mill Run Park
Parks and Recreation staff have been working with the Olde Mill Run Homeowners' Association to develop this park. An open play area, walking path, picnic shelter, and playground are planned this spring. Trees will also be planted along the perimeter. Playground equipment and shelter with grill and tables have been ordered and the purchase order has been issued. Weather permitting, construction should begin by the end of February.
Large Bump in Mill Creek Parkway
An on-site inspection was performed on February 19, 2014. The inspection indicated that there is a depression in front of the stormwater manhole at this location. A work order has been issued to schedule a TV inspection of the drainage pipe on February 27, 2014. Repair work will be scheduled upon completion of the inspection.
PhotoSafe/Red Light Cameras
Per state law, a sworn law enforcement officer must review every violation captured by our camera systems. The same reviewing officer appears in court to testify that a violation has occurred. Just because an event was captured does not mean a violation has transpired. Additionally, Virginia law requires that the signal must be red for ½ second (amnesty period) before a violation notice can be issued. The ½-second delay means that only the worst or most dangerous of the violators will be captured. Most states employ a .3 second amnesty period. Think of it this way, a majority of the city's camera systems will be on roadways that are 45 mph with vehicles traveling at 66 feet per second. The ½-second delay means that (providing the vehicle was doing the speed limit) a vehicle could be within 33 feet behind the "stop bar" when the signal turns red and run the red light without generating a violation. The average car is approximately 15 feet in length so that means the vehicle can be back two car lengths in this scenario. Most captured violations occur with vehicles entering the intersection at 1.0 to 1.5 seconds after the signal turned red. Furthermore, Va. Code § 15.2-968.1(K) states,
“Before the implementation of a traffic light signal violation monitoring system at an intersection, the locality shall complete an engineering safety analysis that addresses signal timing and other location-specific safety features. The length of the yellow phase shall be established based on the recommended methodology of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. All traffic light signal violation monitoring systems shall provide a minimum 0.5-second grace period between the time the signal turns red and the time the first violation is recorded. If recommended by the engineering safety analysis, the locality shall make reasonable location-specific safety improvements, including signs and pavement markings.”
The City of Chesapeake utilized the formulas articulated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Virginia Department of Transportation to determine our signal timing. Please visit our web pages at www.cityofchesapeake.net/photosafe for more information.
Resurfacing of Guenevere Drive
The City's pavement management software, IMS, uses a ranking system to prioritize all the streets in the City for the resurfacing schedule. Guenevere Drive, from King Arthur Drive to Sir Meliot Drive, is divided into three segments with current rankings of 84, 83, and 87 (100 being in the best condition). Limited funding ($2.5 - $3.0 million) for resurfacing only allows approximately 20-30 street segments to be resurfaced each year. Streets with the lowest rankings have priority. We are currently resurfacing streets with rankings in the 50's. Staff will monitor the condition of the streets in Camelot and they will be reevaluated for each year's schedule. The list of street segments for this fiscal year's resurfacing schedule (July 2013 - June 2014) has already been evaluated and can be seen under Public Work's Contracted Street Maintenance Projects page. There are street segments in Camelot, such as a section of King Arthur Drive and Sir Gawaine Drive that we hope to include in the next fiscal year's resurfacing schedule.
Street Sweeping – Miller's Run
Miller's Run was last swept on December 31, 2013. Currently, the City crew maintains a schedule of 4-cycle sweeping operations throughout the year. The schedule can be found on the Street Sweeping page under the Public Works section of this site.
Neighbors Sweeping Leaves Into Ditches on Martin Johnson Road
On February 11, 2014, staff delivered educational information on proper ways to deal with fallen leaves to residents of the area. The following pamphlets, which can be found on the Public Works website, were provided: Stormwater Brochure; Roadside Ditch Maintenance; and Waste Collection Services.
877 Old George Washington Hwy – Code Violations
The Department of Development and Permits investigated the property on February 19, 2014. The code compliance inspector issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) for extensive property maintenance violations, giving thirty days to correct. A re-inspection of the property will take place on March 21, 2014. Given the magnitude of the violations, we would anticipate an extension of the deadline, if adequate progress is made toward resolving the issues. The Department will continue to pursue enforcement until the violations are resolved.
Illegal Activity Military Highway Area
This location and the surrounding area continue to be monitored by Uniform Patrol, and enforcement action is taken as needed.
Neighborhood Watch Program
A Crime Prevention Officer indicates that no one replaced the previous Neighborhood Watch Coordinator. The officer then advised of the procedure to follow in order to reestablish the Neighborhood Watch Program in the neighborhood. Information on how to start a Neighborhood Watch Program »
The City's Economic Development Department uses a number of strategies to recruit new business to Chesapeake and help with the expansion of existing businesses. The City has a "targeted industries" list, the Economic Development Department engages in domestic and international recruitment efforts, and the City has an active business expansion and retention effort. The City has working relationships with our regional and state Economic Development allies and there is a coordinated process the state and region uses to recruit new businesses to the Commonwealth. There are Workforce Development programs in the state and region. A highly-educated workforce is very important to recruiting high-paying jobs to the region. And transportation infrastructure improvements are a key component of sound Economic Development policy.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy
The Governor's STEM Academy located in Grassfield High School represents an exciting new initiative in academic choices for Chesapeake Public Schools' students. The Technology Academy opened in September 2008 with it first freshman class. In the spring of 2012, the Academy earned the distinction of being a Governor's STEM Academy. The academy operates as a school-within-a-school and features a cutting-edge curriculum especially designed for students with an interest in STEM careers. Students will have multiple opportunities for taking advanced courses and sampling such special programs as mentorship and internship. The innovative learning environment of the Governor's STEM Academy also provides students the added advantage of combining academic and technical training that prepares them for a variety of post-graduate choices: entry-level jobs, advanced technology training, or college or university studies. Students are drawn from across the city and may choose to pursue the Standard Diploma Program or the Advanced Diploma Program. Students attending the Governor's STEM Academy take core academic courses as well as STEM elective courses from one of more of the three career pathways: Engineering and Technology, Programming and Software Development, and Marketing Management.
Deep Creek High School is host to Chesapeake Public School's Science and Medicine Academy, which began in Fall 2011. The first class of Freshmen consisted of 60 students. Students accepted into the academy are exposed to new and innovative scientific and medical information on a daily basis. Since September, the students have had a panel of guest speakers such as a pediatric neurologist, a chemist, a sports trainer, a physical therapist and a science researcher come in to talk about their professions. They have also taken field trips to NASA Air and Space Center and to the Virtual Heath and Medical Simulation Lab. Although the students come from areas throughout the City, all of them have embraced being a part of the Deep Creek Hornet family. The Goal of the Science and Medicine Academy is to enhance students attitudes, skills, and introduce awareness of the vast opportunities available in the fields of science and medical careers. The Academy will provide a small student-centered learning atmosphere which will lead to student success. The focus of the Academy is to provide each student with rigorous academic coursework to compete in post-secondary institutions.
Additional Sidewalks near Schools in Deep Creek
Public Works is working with School Administration to identify streets that may require sidewalks. A funding source would then need to be determined.