by Ralph Buona, Ashburn District, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
To the Editor:
During the course of running for office and since being elected, I have talked to literally thousands of Ashburn District residents about what they wanted for their community. The number one issue raised regardless of political affiliation was improving our transportation network, particularly our roads.
You can imagine my shock when I learned that the Loudoun County Democratic Committee (LCDC) is recommending a "no" vote for funding a portion of the Belmont Ridge Road improvement project on the sample ballot that the LCDC will be handing out at the polls next Tuesday. This position smacks of hypocrisy given the other Parties constant attacks on Republican candidates involving the Governor’s 2012 Transportation Funding Bill.
Belmont Ridge has routinely topped the list of dangerous roads in Loudoun and residents have long been clamoring for safety improvements. Anyone traveling its winding path – especially at night – knows that its dips, climbs, curves, deer population, and narrow right-of-way are a standing invitation to accidents. In particular, a pedestrian bridge at the W&OD crossing will solve a major hazard. It is a quality of life issue as well as Belmont Ridge has been in the County Transportation Plan for many years as a major north/south corridor. Just as important, Route 659 is a critical feeder road in one of Loudoun’s most congested areas. This project has been on the books under Boards of both parties as part of the Eastern Loudoun Suburban Policy Area to take the burden off other local arteries.
Earlier during this Board’s term, the Board voted to make Belmont Ridge Road from Route 7 south to Croson Lane (near Briar Woods High School) a road with an ultimate condition of four lanes (versus the original six planned). We did this because too much residential development had already occurred in this area to accommodate six lanes realistically. Hence, the argument that this is the beginning of an “Outer Beltway” is both moot and false.
This current Board ran with a commitment to improve transportation. Belmont Ridge Road improvements were the second highest road priority in our Strategic Plan – second only to Route 606 improvements.
It is both irresponsible and indefensible for the LCDC to not care about our citizen’s quality of life and safety. I urge all Loudoun residents, regardless of political affiliation, to support this bond referendum.
Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Ashburn District Supervisor