Raspberry Falls HOA
Hello Raspberry Residents.
On August 1st, the first of several Rte 15 Stakeholder Committee meetings took place. The Stakeholder Committee is comprised of primary and alternate individuals from various groups around Leesburg & Lucketts, including Raspberry Falls HOA. The charter for this Stakeholder Committee is to provide input and make recommendations on the Route 15 Corridor improvements from the Town of Leesburg all the way to the Maryland State border (not just to White’s Ferry Rd). There are five more Stakeholder meetings scheduled over the next eight months.
The first meeting was 90 minutes and was primarily just a review of the Congestion Report and a review of the Survey Results that were taken online and in person at the meetings around the region earlier in the summer. The congestion report is available on our HOA website and on the Community Facebook page if you would like to read the entire report.
The primary conclusion is that Rte 15 must be widened to 4 lanes to some point north of White’s Ferry Road. Without widening the road, nothing will change.
The topics of debate were what to do at the intersection of White’s Ferry Road and Rte 15, and what to do at the intersection of King Street and Rte 15. The traffic engineers from Kimley Horne (the engineering firm that did the most recent traffic study), did a projection study out to 2040.
For the King Street and Route 15 intersections, they analyzed a roundabout vs a traffic light. The study indicated that a roundabout at this location would fail every scenario, while a properly timed traffic light did not. Therefore, they are recommending a traffic light and T intersection.. Keep in mind that all this assumes that Route 15 is widened to four lanes, so while a light might sound bad, because of the increased capacity on Route 15, it actually works better in this case. A third option was not analyzed, and that is a “grade separated intersection”, which really means a bridge. They are now analyzing the impact of this, and how much it might cost, but they don’t have the data yet.
Below is what the T-intesection and traffic light would look like:
And this is what the “Grade Separation” would look like.
Again, the impact to congestion of the grade separation has not been studied yet.
The next intersection discussed was Route 15 and White’s Ferry Road. Specifically, a roundabout versus a traffic light. There were several models and configurations analyzed, and in the end they came up with two possibilities (both including the T-intersection shown above at King Street), which are known as Alternative 1B and Alternative 3.
Alternative 1B: Signalized T-Intersection at King Street with Limited Capacity Improvements. The network experienced minimal queuing during both AM and PM peak periods and the study intersections all provided sufficient capacity. The lane drop at Montresor does create some northbound queuing during the PM peak period, but it does not impact other study intersections.
Alternative 3. Signalized T-Intersection at King Street and Roundabout at Whites Ferry Road. This hybrid alternative operates well, with most intersections performing at LOS B or better. The Battlefield Parkway intersection experiences more queuing, but not enough to cause it to fail. Both the northbound and southbound approaches of the Whites Ferry roundabout operate at LOS A, but THE SIDE STREETS EXPERIENCE MORE QUEUING. This is largely due to high northbound and southbound volumes, which make it difficult to provide a sufficient gap distance.
The side streets they are referring to are White’s Ferry Rd and Raspberry Drive, indicating it will be more difficult for us to enter the roundabout during peak periods. The study states that the signalized light at King Street is required for a roundabout to work: “… a traffic signal at the intersection of US Route 15 and King Street intersection is necessary to meter traffic entering the roundabout at Whites Ferry Road. without it, the roundabout cannot accommodate the continuous traffic demand”. This is referring to the necessity to create gaps during peak hours for vehicle to exit White’s Ferry and Raspberry Drive. Even with the light, we will see queuing on Raspberry Dr and White’s Ferry Rd. Those queues are projected to empty during light cycles at King Street. Without the light at King Street, queues on Raspberry Dr and White’s Ferry will be even worse.
A third option has been introduced which is referred to as the “bow tie” roundabout. There has been no study to determine the effectiveness of this alternative, but they have asked that it be considered anyways. The bowtie is essentially a roundabout at Saddlebrook (our neighbors to the south of Raspberry) and a roundabout somewhere north of Raspberry. At the same time, they would remove the light at White’s Ferry put up a barrier to prevent traffic from making any left hand turns at that intersection, forcing traffic to utilize the roundabouts for entrance and exits that normally would have been left hand turns . For example, to enter Raspberry from the south, you would pass Raspberry Drive then execute a U-Turn at the northern traffic circle. Below is what this would look like:
Again, there has been no study on the effectiveness on congestion yet.
The cost of 1B is estimated to be $36 million dollars, while Alternative 3 is estimated at $43 million dollars.
Currently, there is no funding for this project, therefore the engineers came up with a phased implementation that could take advantage of smaller batch funds as they become available, rather than take it all on at once. This is broken into four phases described below:
Phase 4 does not indicate traffic light or roundabout or bowtie roundabouts.
The next Stakeholder meeting is September 14th. They have asked that we survey the residents of our community on a number of topics. Please take a few minutes before Sept. 14 to answer the survey below. SURVEY RESPONSES WITHOUT FULL NAME AND ADDRESS WILL NOT BE COUNTED.