The Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will hold a virtual town hall meeting to obtain input from the public regarding the Piney Forest Road corridor in the City of Danville. The purpose of the study is to identify strategies and improvements to address existing and future traffic congestion, safety, as well as pedestrian, bicycle, and transit improvements along the corridor. The virtual meeting will be held on the evening of TUESDAY, APRIL 27th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/843847001044480267
Some background on the study follows:
Most years, the Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), staffed by the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC), initiates studies to help improve the transportation network within the Danville Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA), which includes the City of Danville and adjoining areas of Pittsylvania County. For Fiscal Year 2021, the MPO, in concert with EPR Planning Consultants (PC) of Charlottesville, has embarked on a study of the Piney Forest Road Corridor, in the City of Danville, to enhance multimodal transportation along the corridor.
The Piney Forest Road corridor, also known as U.S. Route 29 Business, extends from the main commercial retail area of Danville, encompassing the Danville Mall and the Coleman Marketplace, north to the city limit. The study area, for the intent of this study, extends approximately 2.6 miles from Holt Garrison Parkway (in the area of Coleman Marketplace) north to Franklin Turnpike. Along the corridor are found a variety of land uses, which mostly consist of strip commercial development and shopping centers, interspersed with residential units, most of which are single-family dwellings.
EPR, PC has identified numerous deficiencies along the corridor including safety concerns pertaining to crashes, as well as some congestion issues. Some of the safety and congestion deficiencies likely result from the poor access management along the corridor, which is manifested by the ubiquitous vehicular access points, as well as a continuous center left-turn lane.
The consultants have also identified deficiencies pertaining to alternative transportation modes including walking and bicycling, with some opportunities to improve transit infrastructure as well. While sidewalks are present along the corridor, crosswalks are absent in many areas, which can result in pedestrian safety issues as well as to discourage walking. Additionally, no bicycle infrastructure exists along the corridor, and the high traffic volumes create an environment that makes bicycling uncomfortable. While the corridor is served by Danville Transit, only one bus shelter is located along the corridor. Therefore, the planning team will formulate recommendations to enhance walking and biking, and to add transit shelters along the corridor; public input is imperative to these, as well as the auto-focused recommendations.
For its part, Danville MPO staff worked to identify potential parallel connections along the corridor to reduce the volume of vehicular traffic that must travel on Piney Forest Road. Such activities engaged in by MPO staff included identifying potential locations for frontage and backage roads, as well as opportunities for inter-parcel connectivity (connecting adjacent parcels to enable vehicles to travel between parcels without having to transition onto Piney Forest Road itself). MPO staff also researched ordinances put in place by other jurisdictions across the U.S. which also conducted corridor studies and improvements.
The project team will begin gathering traffic information later this year, as new data become available and as traffic patterns normalize following the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is anticipated to be complete by late 2021 or early 2022.
For more information regarding this study, please visit https://danvillempo.org/piney-forest-road-study/.