A Balancing Act

The Corner Store complex at the intersection of Main St. and Sperryville Pike.

Options include raised road reflectors, speed indicator sign 

A joint resolution by the Sperryville Community Alliance (SCA) and the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors to slow down traffic and support pedestrian safety in Sperryville has been developed in close consultation with BOS Chair Christine Smith for presentation to the governor and state highway officials.

“It seeks to improve pedestrian safety in Sperryville as well as calm traffic in the village,” explains Sperryville business owner and alliance member Kerry Sutten. “Supervisor Smith has suggested the board consider the resolution at its July 6th board meeting.”

Sutten, who owns Before & After cafe and has taken a leadership role in organizing and promoting Sperryville through festivals and other events, stressed that the SCA does not advocate or lobby for the passage of the resolution, as it is a designated 501(c)3. 

“We work with our community and elected officials to help implement changes that enhance the safety, inclusiveness and vitality of Sperryville,” he explained.

A draft of the resolution reads, in part:

WHEREAS, only one sidewalk runs along Sperryville’s Main Street to accommodate pedestrian traffic to businesses and residences requiring pedestrians to cross at uncontrolled crossings.

WHEREAS, the existing four-foot wide cement sidewalk immediately adjacent to the roadway does not conform to current Commonwealth of Virginia safety standards and creates a hazard to pedestrians walking on it.

WHEREAS, the only crosswalk on Main Street, located at the easternmost end of Main Street, does not connect to a sidewalk serving Main Street, thus, does not serve as an alternative to mid-closings to access businesses and residences on Main Street’s north side. 

WHEREAS, the increase in the number of businesses on Sperryville’s Main Street and increased tourism has resulted in an increase in pedestrian traffic requiring more frequent crossing at uncontrolled intersections.

WHEREAS, vehicle traffic in Sperryville has grown over the past five years as a result of new local businesses, increased tourism, additional amenities such as a river walk, increasing the likelihood of a pedestrian incident. 

WHEREAS, Rappahannock County has a significant senior population with a median age in 2018 of 50.1 years compared to the average U.S. median age of 37.9[4], leading to more seniors, who are more vulnerable to incidents at uncontrolled roadway intersections, being put at risk.

WHEREAS, US 522 heading east in Sperryville does not have a sidewalk or crosswalks on which pedestrians can walk, thus, requiring individuals to walk on the pavement of US 522, a primary state vehicle and truck highway, at significant risk of incident.

WHEREAS, a group of concerned Sperryville citizens has formed to engage the community, collect data, and evaluate proposals that seek to improve pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures and will be available to support the work of government organizations.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Sperryville Community Alliance and the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors ask the Commonwealth of Virginia, and specifically the Virginia Department of Transportation, to improve pedestrian safety and calm traffic by (i) conducting an engineering study, to be completed within six months with community input, with options to install crosswalks on Sperryville’s Main Street and enhance pedestrian safety on the only public sidewalk on Main Street, with options to include installing raised road reflectors to warn drivers they have left the roadway; and (ii) install a speed indicator sign on US 522 at the start of the 25 mph limit sign to make drivers aware of their speed. In addition, the Sperryville Community Alliance and the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors ask the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission to conduct a study to evaluate the feasibility and safety value of extending a public sidewalk along the southside of US 522 (Sperryville Pike) in Sperryville and recommend measures to calm traffic on this historic roadway. The Sperryville Community Alliance will cover all cost share expenses, within reasonable limits, resulting in no expense to the county.

 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we deliver this resolution to the Governor and state legislators representing Rappahannock County and to the Director of the Virginia Department of Transportation and to the Chair and Executive Director of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission.

Click here to sign up for the C-19 Daily Update, a free newsletter delivered to your email inbox every morning.