Letter: Rosemary Lawler, Leesburg

Editor:   I read the article on four-lane plans for Rt. 15N as I cannot reach my home by any other road. Supervisor Higgins states that “the process has been more open than any process the County has ever held.”  Unfortunately, an “open process” that directly contacts HOAs, various business//historic/associations and fails to directly contact 1,700 unrepresented property owners is far from “open.”

The county clearly knows how to “reach me” when sending my tax bills by mail. Yet for a project with the enormity of a complete Rt.15N redesign I’m not even worth a letter of intent and a stamp.

This is wrong, and the opposite of a universal and equally “open” process.

Even property owners fortunate to be represented by a “seat” at the invitation-only “stakeholders meetings” have come to find that before the county began its closed process many of the project goals were already finalized in the “mind” of the county.

Fact: The county submitted a request to the Regional Transportation Board to study four-laning before the first meeting of stakeholders was held.

Fact: By December the county submitted a funding request to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for four laning, and residents were asked to support securing this “place hold of funds” as design process continued. Months later—through citizen effort—residents became aware the submitted four-lane proposal went much further north than had been presented to residents. We had been asked to “support” the request on the basis of false and misleading information about the goals of the project. After the fact is when residents found out a goal of the $81million project is to “attract traffic” from as far away as the Beltway.

Fact: The new draft of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan indicates county desire to turn Rt. 15 north into an “expressway” with severely limited access, such as you see on Rt. 7.

Absolutely none of the verbal discussions I’ve had with supervisors during this process indicated such goals.

I’ve been told: “4 lanes to Whites Ferry then a merge.” Weeks later, “4 lanes to merge just before Montresor.” Then, “merge just north of Montresor.”

Then, “merge just south of Lucketts.”

This “open process” has been a sham, and a slap in the face to the vast majority of Loudoun residents who have indicated in surveys, public comments, and comments on Envision Loudoun our deeply held desire to preserve our rural, agricultural character and centuries of history.

Wake up Loudoun. We’re about to lose our culture and heritage.

Rosemary Lawler, Leesburg


10 thoughts on “Letter: Rosemary Lawler, Leesburg

  • 2018-08-23 at 4:47 pm

    Ms. Lawler tries to paint a negative picture of the process, but it has been as open as such a process can possibly be. Supervisor Higgins’ office DID send direct mail to the supposedly unrepresented citizens and various special interest groups on the stakeholder committee, universally against all improvements, claimed to represent them as well. If you’d like to know the real story, visit our website, fixroute15now.com and follow us on Facebook.

    • 2018-08-30 at 5:01 pm

      It would be helpful if you’d share a copy of the letter sent by Loudoun County to all affected property owners announcing the start of a Rt.15 re-design, because no one I know seems to have received it. My letter specifically stated that the County failed to contact approximately 1,700 property owners.

      This is not Mr. Higgins’ personal project. This is a County and regional project. Following comments made by me publicly to the Board well AFTER this project began – Mr. Higgins did send a letter to some, not all, un-represented owners. Better than nothing, but truthfully….just a tad late in the “open” process.

      Your statement that I – and other rural property owners – are “universally against all improvements” is both incendiary and categorically false. Many of us have made repeated efforts to beseech the County to improve Rt.15 in ways that improve flow, allow for enforcement of speed limits, maintain the rural integrity of the area, respect the fragile karst district the road lies on top of, and improve safe access to Rt. 15 for local residents.

      You’re entitled to your opinion about Rt. 15. Do not spread falsehoods about my own opinions, or the lack of direct County outreach to 1700 of us taxpayers.

  • 2018-08-24 at 9:05 am

    You nailed it Rosemary Lawler.

    The advocates for 4 laning Route 15 are again resurrecting a plan that despite overwhelming community opposition keeps coming back- an outer beltway designed to take traffic from the I95 corridor and move it west.

    All you folks clamoring for a 4 lane highway because you think it will speed the time traveling between Leesburg and your house will wake up to find out you were sold a pig in poke. The possibility of a decreased travel time will be overshadowed by the reality of living next to an interstate highway. And just like the Capital Beltway, 4 lanes won’t be enough.

  • 2018-08-24 at 9:15 am

    And I looked at the website listed above. Nothing says ‘Astroturf Paid For By Developers’ like a blog that doesn’t accept comments or indicate who/what is paying for the effort.

    People of Northern Loudoun, take the time to drive Rt 50 west of Lenah. The naysayers said traffic calming wouldn’t work. They tried to bypass Middleburg, Aldie, and Upperville and came up with developer funded studies spouting the same tripe you’re hearing now about Rt 15

  • 2018-08-24 at 10:53 am

    @AFF – Our Facebook page does allow comments. Feel free to follow us and join in the conversation. As for our website, we choose not to allow comments there because we want the information to stand on its own. If you’d like to dispute something, you can go to the effort of creating your own site.

    And by the way, NOBODY is in favor of making 15 the outer beltway. According to the community surveys, your “overwhelming” opposition to needed widening amounts to ~30% of the community. 70% are in favor.

    • 2018-08-28 at 10:58 am

      There’s information on your website?

      Like how traffic calming doesn’t work?

      Perhaps you should invite your readers to venture a few miles South and drive west on RT 50 so they can see for themselves?

      Like how there’s no bridge into Maryland because of NIMBY Marylanders?

      Did you not know that Maryland has set aside a significant portion of farmland so as to preserve their rural economy and plan for the future? They’re NIMBYs because they don’t want a bridge crossing and major highway running through the areas they’ve protected for decades?

      Even if you could convince Maryland set aside decades of forethought to allow a bridge desired by Virginia because of our poor long term planning, do ya think the folks in Eastern Loudoun are gonna be excited about this ‘idea’ (you ain’t seen NIMBY like suburban NIMBY).

      Tell the truth, I couldn’t find much information at all on your site- only opinion. I’d sure like to see the meat and potatoes behind the ‘survey’ you cite. Phrase the question a certain way and I’d probably fall into the ‘support widening’ camp (roads require shoulders for safety but if you want traffic on secondary roads to flow more safely you don’t design said widening to invite higher speeds)

      I have no interest in arguing on the FacePlace and I stand by my comment- your website looks like it’s bought and paid for by developer and road building interests and I don’t appreciate your taking potshots at other community organizations who’ve been working on these issues for years with far greater accountability.

      • 2018-08-29 at 1:02 pm

        Traffic calming works on 50, for now, because less than 10,000 vehicles per day use it at that location. Route 15 North of Leesburg handles 26,000 vehicles per day. Apples and Oranges.

  • 2018-08-24 at 4:02 pm

    If you want to participate in the debate, make sure you’re staying within reality. If you think Rt. 15 will be turned in to an Interstate, you cannot be part of any rational discussion on the issue.

  • 2018-08-28 at 10:35 am

    Stay within reality because there’s no way RT 15 would be turned into a 6 lane highway paralleling I95 to the west?

    Aren’t you a dear?

    You must be new to Northern Virginia? A Western Bypass, often referred to as the Western Transportation Corridor has been off and on the books for years. It’s the transportation plan that just won’t die, despite widespread community opposition every time it comes back from the dead (more like, every time the people who live nearby wakeup and realize what’s being foisted on them)

    Look at a map. Four lane highway comes off of I95 in Fredericksburg (RT17), joins RT 15 below Warrenton then turns back to 2 lane from Haymarket to the Virginia Maryland line. There’s only a few more miles of 2 lane in Maryland before you’re back on 4 lane corridors. Several proposals of the WTC came straight through Lucketts (think about it- there’s a big river that has to be crossed and only so many bridges.

    The other proposals have called for a bridge crossing near Dulles Airport… which would go through the heart of major residential communities with thousands of houses dumping right in the heart of farmland Maryland has protected for decades. Leaving out the obvious fact that there’s no bridge and no political will to build one in Maryland.. Hmm, thousands of residential houses in the way with no bridge VS plenty of space and the tiny little town of Lucketts in the way? A tiny little town with a vocal minority of new residents demanding a wider faster road- sure does look like an excellent place to sneak in the transportation project that won’t die, doesn’t it? Widen RT15 from Leesburg to Maryland and you’re most of there way there.

    Look it up Loudoun Fan- its’ acronym is the WTC and the proposal called for it to go through Lucketts. I don’t think it’s a very rational idea and from the sounds of it, neither do you?

  • 2018-09-03 at 3:15 pm

    For now?

    You give away your biases with “for now”. You see, the thing is all you developer and road building lackeys said the roundabouts on RT50 would never work- at all.

    Now you guys are stuck with the realty that the design has worked really well- beyond expectations. So you’re falling back on “for now” while implying …. “just you wait…. it’ll fail any second now”.

    Yup- seen this one trick pony before. Way back when you folks said the VDOT traffic projections showed that roundabouts will never work and 4laning RT 50 and bypassing Middleburg was the only way.

    I kinda have a hard time buying the assertion that traffic calming works at the intersection of 2 major roads but it won’t work at the intersection of a major road and a secondary road. Seems odd considering the evidence a few miles south on the very road we’re talking about.

    Lets not forget that your big beautiful 4 lane transportation corridor will terminate at a 35MPH 2 lane bridge. Tell me again why that shouldn’t concern those hoping to actually improve RT 15?

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