Half Truth’s and Continued Delay Tactics

Following up on our write up yesterday about Ian Lockwood, this afternoon we received a copy of a statement made by the leader of the Catoctin Coalition:

“Lockwood’s approach requires solid community outreach along the corridor, to ensure that his design reflects desires and vision of the community. We have asked that he be given time to do that community outreach for the North King Street area and the whole corridor.  It would take about 12 weeks. We have so far not gotten approval of Supervisors for that effort. While there is pressure on the county to “not delay” projects, such a small amount of time for a project that won’t begin construction for years seems like a minor concession, especially since the design that Lockwood will produce will be vastly less expensive than what the current plans will cost, and it will be truly citizen-driven, instead of what a group of stakeholders have concluded about the current effort. That process has been front-loaded, with adding capacity and limiting access being the primary goals from the beginning, and without following the well-laid-out procedure in the JTHG Corridor Management Plan. As the saying goes, for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

Sounds good right? Well here is the whole story. Contrary to what this group would have you believe, Mr. Lockwood is not a new player in this game. The Catoctin Coalition was founded in 2001 to block VDOT’s suggested improvements for the road at that time, which included “widening of the road and adding wide, paved shoulders”. As part of this first battle, they brought in Mr. Lockwood. See the link below from 2004 (a letter to the editor “Catoctin Coalition’s Roots” by Gladys Lewis. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2004/02/22/loudoun-letters-to-the-editor/c7d9b82b-74d2-4841-9e3a-cd4ab587ea1d/?utm_term=.12539e1d42e9.

This information really brings to light the constant delay tactics used by these groups to stop anything from being done to Route 15. Mr. Lockwood has had 14 years to come up with a plan. He didn’t. The Catoctin Coalition had the last 15 months to bring him in again during the Route 15 Stakeholder process. They chose not to do so. Instead they waited until the true “citizen-driven” plan went against their wishes. Then Supervisor Higgins generously gave them a month to get their alternative proposal in. They did nothing. Now they want another 3 months to supposedly accomplish what they couldn’t get done in 14+ years. And these groups wonder why the community is screaming NO MORE DELAYS?

On top of all this, let’s not forget that given the information we laid out in a past column: http://fixroute15now.com/day-4-we-need-a-30-year-solution/, Mr. Lockwood’s approach of single lane roundabouts, no widening, and traffic calming, as espoused by the Catoctin Coalition, requires more than community outreach. It requires the denial of reality and the refusal to accept math. Single-lane roundabouts fail when volume exceeds 25,000 vehicles per day while two-lane roads fail at 18,000 vehicles per day. The 2017 traffic count for Route 15 between Battlefield Parkway up through Montresor Road is 26,000 vehicles per day. The northern half of the corridor will be at that level before any project is complete.  So, once again, here we have a special interest group advocating for a failed roundabout “solution” by their own “hired roundabout gun” – again!