The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is seeking the public’s input on a corridor study in the City of Danville, via a MetroQuest survey. The study area comprises the Piedmont Drive corridor between Park Avenue and Boxwood Court, which is the primary roadway serving both the Danville Mall and Coleman Marketplace – two of the largest shopping centers in the City. The main deficiencies identified along the approximately 1.7-mile corridor study area include safety issues, lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and the need for transportation demand management (TDM).
The consulting firm RK&K is directly responsible for conducting the study, while other partners involved in the effort include the City of Danville, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI), and the Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The study is expected to be completed in March, in time for Round 5 of Smart Scale, Virginia’s major source of transportation project funding.
In terms of safety, a total of 335 crashes occurred on the Piedmont Drive corridor within the study area over the five-year period of 2015 to 2019. Of these crashes, the majority share (56%, or 188) consisted of rear-end collisions, while the second-highest share (22%, or 74) comprised angle collisions. Lack of pedestrian and bicycle accommodations was also identified as a serious deficiency in the area, since the many clustered commercial establishments along and nearby to the corridor make active transportation, particularly walking, a feasible mode of mobility. Furthermore, the fact that the area is served by Danville Transit guarantees that some individuals – employees and consumers alike – are using transit to access these establishments. A late 2021 walk-through along part of the corridor by City of Danville, RK&K, and Danville MPO staff revealed a number of pedestrians walking along the corridor, with some forced to walk along a narrow bridge having a narrow shoulder in order to get to their destination. TDM needs, as noted above, refer to any mechanism which helps to manage traffic demand, and can include transit, walking, and bicycling infrastructure, as well as accommodations to promote carpooling and vanpooling, such as park and ride facilities.
A number of recommendations have been put forth by the planning team, one of which is improved traffic signal coordination, which can help to reduce rear-end crashes by facilitating a smoother traffic flow. A second recommendation is the reconfiguration of the intersections of Piedmont Drive and Old Mount Cross Road, Executive Drive, and Piedmont Drive as thru-cuts. Thru-cuts permit left and right turns from side streets and commercial establishments onto Piedmont Drive, as is currently the case, but would prohibit through-movements, which would be defined as vehicular movements from one side of Piedmont Drive directly across to the other side of the corridor. A driver would need to first turn right or left prior to accessing the opposing establishment, as shown in the following image. One advantage of thru-cuts is that they reduce the opportunities for conflict among vehicles, since the through-movement is eliminated. A second benefit of thru-cuts is that they result in more efficient traffic flow, since the time a driver must wait at a traffic light is reduced due to the elimination of the through-movement phase on side streets. Another recommendation advanced by the study is the proposal for a network of sidewalks and crosswalks in the area to facilitate a safe and comfortable pedestrian environment, as well as to encourage additional walking as a viable means of mobility in this area.
The MetroQuest survey, noted earlier in this blog, will be available online until Thursday, March 10th. This survey is very innovative and engaging, and will only take you 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The survey opens with a welcome page that includes a brief introduction to the study, after which the second interactive slide will ask you to rank the top 5 out of 6 issues from highest to lowest priority, as you see fit. The next interactive slide shows images of each of the proposed thru-cut concepts for the intersections and asks you to rate them on 1 – 5 scale. After you do this, you can click on the sidewalk improvements tab at the top of the slide to rank the image depicting the sidewalk and crosswalk improvements. The next interactive slide poses several traditional survey questions, while the last interactive slide simply gathers basic demographic data. The survey can be accessed by visiting the following link, and it is an important component of public outreach as part of this study, as the study would be incomplete without community input. You need not be a resident to take the survey; if you work in Danville or even if you visit, you’re encouraged to participate! Please visit the link below to take this short and important survey: https://live.metroquestsurvey.com/?u=ov7s7u#!/?p=web&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=none.
Whether your commute or non-commute trip involves the use of transit, carpooling, walking, or bicycling, or whether you telework, don’t forget to log your trips into the RIDE Solutions app to earn discounts on shopping, dining, entertainment, and services, or for opportunities to enter raffles where you can win great prizes such as gift cards! Download the RIDE Solutions app today for free at www.ridesolutions.org!