Over the past two decades, Loudoun County has undergone tremendous change. As the fastest growing county in the nation, the population has more than doubled, with large portions of a once predominantly rural county becoming bustling suburbs. This explosive rate of growth has led to many dislocations, especially for the County government, which has found it hard to adjust to the needs and demands accompanying that growth.
For 16 of these critical years I served on the Board of Supervisors and was deeply involved in dealing with the consequences of explosive growth. That growth continues today, and the fundamental issues and problems remain – how to provide sufficient schools, libraries, jails, roads, etc. to satisfy an exploding population while keeping property taxes affordable.
I have created this site to document the lessons learned, both positive and negative, from my perspective, during that tumultuous time in the hope that future leaders of the County and the general public will learn from the experiences of the past.
As traffic calming projects and roundabouts become more common in Virginia, it is instructive to take a look at what is probably the first such project in the state, along the Route 50 corridor in Loudoun County, to see how it’s working out.*
The rationale of traffic calming is quite specific: catch the attention of drivers; alert them to the need to slow down and watch for people and cars entering the road in towns and villages, thus increasing safety and preventing accidents.
Traffic calming has been widely and successfully used to slow traffic in Australia and Europe (mainly Northern Europe) for decades, with one of the earliest efforts being in the UK in the 1930’s. Here in the United States, however, it was slow to catch on and is only now being more widely applied, with the traffic calming project on Route 50 being one of the first tried in this country. The story of the Route 50 project, and its results to date, show (1) what a group of dedicated citizens can accomplish when highly motivated and (2) how effective traffic calming can be, particularly in reducing the number of automobile crashes in an area.