In , I wrote about the , between Edwards Ferry and Ft. Evans Roads, which I called the most significant local road project in recent memory.
In effect, the parkway serves as an outer bypass around the east side of Leesburg, from Rt. 15 north of to Evergreen Mill Road at the southern edge of town.
Two days after the opening of the final link, on a Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take a leisurely drive along the full length of the parkway just because – for the first time – I could. Granted, you may not find it ranked among America’s great drives, but the parkway fills a real need for Leesburg. For what it’s worth, here is my travel diary.
2:56 p.m., 0.0 miles: Turn from King Street north of Ida Lee Park onto Battlefield Parkway, heading east.
2:57 p.m., 0.7 miles: Stop for red light at the Route 15 Bypass. Sit for a minute before the light turns green.
2:59 p.m., 1.4 miles: Pass Balls Bluff Elementary School. Make a mental note to avoid this section of road at this time of day when school is in session.
3:00 p.m., 2.1 miles: Enter construction area approaching Edwards Ferry Road, as Battlefield Parkway narrows to two lanes. Slow down and proceed cautiously through green light.
3:01 p.m., 2.5 miles: Resume normal speed as the road returns to four lanes.
3:02 p.m., 2.8 miles: Stop for red light at Ft. Evans Road. Enjoy viewing the intersection for the first time from a new perspective.
3:03 p.m., 3.1 miles: Stop briefly for red light at Potomac Station Drive.
3:03 p.m., 3.3 miles: Stop for another red light at the entrance to the Marketplace at Potomac Station. Resist urge to window shop at .
3:04 p.m., 3.5 miles: Stop for yet another red light at Market Street (Route 7). Sit for a long time.
3:07 p.m., 3.5 miles: Finally accelerate across Market Street. Notice that the speed limit suddenly seems way too low. Recall that a friend got a speeding ticket shortly after this segment of Battlefield Parkway opened. Let up on the accelerator.
3:08 p.m., 4.2 miles: Cross Kincaid Boulevard with green light.
3:09 p.m., 4.5 miles: Stop for red light at Tavistock Drive. Notice and wonder how 20 years could have passed since my oldest daughter was a kindergartner there. Recall that this segment of Battlefield Parkway was then known as Lawson Road. Make a mental note to avoid this area at the beginning and end of the school day.
3:10 p.m., 4.8 miles: Stop for red light at Sycolin Road. Remember that this intersection is where a car collided with my wife’s minivan last year. The other driver’s GPS said to turn left there, and so she immediately turned left from the right lane, right into the side of our van. Suppress an epithet.
3:10 p.m., 4.9 miles: Proceed through green light at Miller Drive.
3:11 p.m., 5.6 miles: Proceed through another green light and cross the Dulles Greenway. Acknowledge that the Greenway was a pretty significant road project, too.
3:11 p.m., 5.8 miles: Pass .
3:12 p.m., 5.9 miles: Stop for red light at Evergreen Mill Road, where Battlefield Parkway officially ends. Take advantage of red light to make a written note to myself to avoid this intersection before, during and after school.
3:13 p.m., 5.9 miles: Decide to continue straight through the intersection onto Masons Lane, for good measure, since this will complete my loop to Rt. 15. Notice that the road is two lanes, and that there is suddenly a feeling of being out in the country.
3:14 p.m., 6.8 miles: Reach stop sign – actually two stop signs – at Virts Corner intersection where Gleedsville Road and Masons Lane intersect with Rt. 15. Enjoy adrenalin rush of a speedy right turn back onto Rt. 15.
So, in my trip along the full length of Battlefield Parkway, I traversed about six miles, not to mention a few memories, in 16 minutes. Several of those minutes were spent sitting at eight red lights.
Now, if we could just somehow get those stoplights coordinated a little better…