VDOT is asking for your input to come up with a plan to make Route 33 East safer for pedestrians and vehicles between Boyers Road in Harrisonburg and Old Spotswood Trail (33 BUS) in Elkton. Whether you travel this section often or not, you’ve probably experienced congestion, speed and safety issues, or frustration as a pedestrian or cyclist. We agree that things could and should be better along this corridor.
We are pleased that VDOT is using a data driven process and public input to ‘develop a holistic approach that identifies ways to maintain safe travel conditions and preserve the capacity of the Commonwealth’s arterial highway network without cost-prohibitive large-scale roadway widening and additional traffic signals.’ In fact, it feels as if we could have written that sentence!
The survey can be found here, and is actually interactive and fun to take (ok, sure, maybe we’ve been in quarantine too long…). A couple of things we’d like to highlight:
1. Rockingham Park at the Crossroads really needs safe pedestrian access for the communities that live on the south side of Route 33. Additionally, that intersection is a thoroughfare for many cyclists visiting the trails on the Western Slope of Massanutten.
2. It seems that major congestion and safety issues occur with east-west travel, so the answer shouldn’t be mega-intersections that are ultimately less safe and more complex to navigate for cars and people alike.
3. We suspect that, just like on Interstate 81, speed might be a major factor in safety issues along the corridor. Therefore, an effective and no-pavement solution is an equitable enforcement strategy and/or reduced speed limit.
4. It seems that one issue VDOT has already acknowledged is that there are many roads, entrances to businesses and crossovers that intersect Route 33 creating a lot of ‘conflict points’ where there are higher concentrations of crashes (similar to how most accidents on I-81 are clustered around on and off ramps). So, when you see ‘Access Management’ brought up in the survey, that means addressing this issue by reducing the number of intersection points or using medians to reduce travel across the corridor between intersections.
Please take a few minutes to share your experience and ideas for the corridor so VDOT can propose the best solutions for this corridor. The survey is open until March 15.
Photo by VDOT.