A terrific example of how these strategies work together comes from the Alliance’s legacy group, the Scenic 340 Project. When faced with a VDOT plan to widen Highway 340 from two to up to five lanes between Luray and Front Royal, local community members came together to protect the area they loved.
The VDOT plan would have diminished scenic viewsheds, cultural resources, productive farmland, historic landmarks, and community identity. Scenic 340 Project members advocated for their shared vision of road improvements that respected the rural character of their scenic region.
In addition to advocating on transportation policy, the group also worked to promote voluntary conservation easements. Over many years, they have engaged their neighbors in establishing a broad swath of voluntary conservation easements to permanently protect 2,300 acres of private property. In so doing, they ensured that these properties in the 340 corridor will remain as farms and forests forever.
Enjoy the views along 340? Thank the neighbors who worked together to voluntarily protect 2,300 acres, shown here in light green, along the 340 corridor.
With a guarantee that there will never be subdivisions, supermarkets, or strip malls to service, replacing a rural roadway with a four lane highway becomes a poor investment. Thanks to the efforts of this united group of engaged citizens, VDOT dropped its plan and instead focused on several discrete projects that improved road safety while maintaining the region’s unique character. Recently, this same stretch of Highway 340 was designated a Virginia Scenic Byway.
Top photo by Kevin Tate