At its July meeting, the Crozet Community Advisory Committee passed a resolution to ask the Virginia Department of Transportation to consider evaluating whether the installation of several new stop signs could improve the flow of traffic at the intersection of Crozet Avenue, Jarmans Gap Road and Tabor Street near downtown Crozet.
“The traffic on Crozet Avenue is growing, and all of the parts and things that have to be in place to remediate that traffic are not in place,” said Tom Loach, a CCAC member and former county planning commissioner, in an interview.
“The connector on the east side of town between 240 and 250 is not in place … so a lot of traffic from there naturally gets dumped on to Tabor Street and then on to Crozet Avenue,” he added.
The long-envisioned road, called Eastern Avenue, would provide a connection between U.S. Route 250 and State Route 240 in the eastern part of Crozet.
Portions of Eastern Avenue are being built as various parcels are developed, but the connection involves a bridge over Lickinghole Creek — a project that has not been funded by the county.
Loach also said traffic on Jarmans Gap coming from new homes in Old Trail has further snarled commutes, and traffic that can be anticipated as downtown Crozet is developed could make matters worse.
“There’s a lot of congestion at Tabor and Jarmans Gap, especially at rush hour, to the point that … if somebody doesn’t stop and wave you out into traffic, you’re stuck there,” Loach said.
The only stop signs at these intersections are for cars turning on to Crozet Avenue from Jarmans Gap and Tabor.
The CCAC is sending its resolution to Joel Denunzio, administrator of VDOT’s Charlottesville residency.
“My initial response is it’s something that’s important to them and we need to take a good look at the request and evaluate whether we need to do a traffic engineering study or not,” DeNunzio said.
DeNunzio said he would like to meet with the CCAC before a study is conducted. Stop signs can seem like a good idea, but he said they can also have unintended consequences.
“All-way stop signs … can be a solution to certain issues with traffic and crashes, but my concern is they are not always a good solution and the installation of them can actually increase your crashes or increase the delay and congestion at an intersection,” he said. “You’ve got to be really careful where you use that intersection control, in addition to traffic signals also.”
An evaluation of the intersections would include looking at traffic volumes and crash data.
“I don’t think there’s enough crashes at those intersections right now — which is a good thing — to warrant a signal or stop signs,” DeNunzio said. “But that would be covered in the analysis.”
He also noted the existing traffic control measures on Crozet Avenue, specifically the four-way stop sign near the Dairy Queen and the stoplight near The Square, may actually be a source of congestion, though he said this was based on his personal observations and not an official study.
Loach suggested the installation of stop signs at the intersections of Crozet Avenue, Jarmans Gap and Tabor could be a temporary solution until Crozet’s transportation network is more finalized.
“If it’s something that may help in the meantime, until we get all of the parts and pieces of the puzzle together, then let’s maybe give that a try,” Loach suggested.
The CCAC’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 20. The committee will not be meeting in August.