Supervisors Up Fontana Neighborhood’s Speeding Fine
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
An Albemarle County neighborhood's six-year battle to put the brakes on speeding drivers is finally moving forward.
The county promises progress in the next few weeks to improve the safety for pedestrians through the Fontana community on Pantops. Albemarle supervisors approved a request to the Virginia Department of Transportation to tack on an extra $200 fine for speeders in Fontana, a neighborhood that's caught between two busy roads.
Since Carrie Cannady, president of the Fontana Owners Association, moved to that quiet corner of Olympia and Verona drives, a lot has changed.
“Now we are three ways in and three ways out, which makes us a perfect pass-through for traffic from 250 to 20 and vice-versa,” she said.
Her Fontana subdivision is now surrounded by newer neighborhoods and business development on Pantops. Cannady says commuters cut through.
"They're using anything they can find that they discover over time is going to shorten their route.”
She says they drive over the 25 mph limit, passing pedestrians on a busy stretch where families and students sometimes stroll.
“They come from various streets around here and they are walking to gather here to pick up the bus, and people fly by in the morning and they're not looking. We've had many, many close calls,” Cannady said.
Cannady has been putting pressure on VDOT and the county since 2008 to make safety improvements.
“We're trying to prevent in a system that is very reactive,” she said.
Albemarle approved plans for Fontana before county code required developers design neighborhood streets with pedestrians in mind.
Albemarle County traffic engineer Jack Kelsey said, “Between VDOT, us and the Police Department, we really needed to do something.”
A new VDOT report recommends putting up more speed limit signs and bigger pedestrian signs. Adding painted crosswalks and turning three-way stops into four-ways could also slow down drivers.
“Anything we can put in there to remind people that this is also a pedestrian area, anything we can do to encourage them to slow down, that's what we want to try to do,” Kelsey said.
Cannady hopes her neighborhood finally sees some progress.
“I get we are one small community in a very large county. However, for us this is truly a quality of life issue,” Cannady said.
The county's traffic engineer says some of those improvements could begin within the next 60 days.
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