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Sidewalk at corner on Claiborne and Broadlands

Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by Silly Yak, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. Silly Yak

    Silly Yak Member

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    So, the sidewalk leading up into the shopping center started as a ramp. Then, it was torn out and stairs were put in. Now the stairs have been torn out and 2 ramps are being installed.

    What the what?!?!
     
  2. TomH

    TomH New Member

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    Yak,
    I believe I may be the cause. Starting over a year ago, I complained to Saul Centers, VDOT, Loudoun Building and Development, and Judy McCary (Senior Aide to Supervisor Ron Meyer), regarding the whole intersection change (i.e. ramp/walkway, useless dual left turn lanes, main shopping center inbound lane changes, and changed Demott Dr turn lanes). Seemed everyone involved tried to think of how they could screw-up the system and succeeded, without asking anyone in the community affected. The only seemingly good result was the right turn entry to the center off of Claiborne. Ffor my money they screwed this up too by putting in one too many lanes and failing to put in a needed exit at the same location.

    The problem with the ramp change was placing two poles side-by-side in the middle of the walkway leaving a max clearance adjacent poles of 24". It made it impossible for two people to walk side-by-side or easily passable by a person in a wheelchair or a person with a stroller to get by without going on the "grass." Saul Centers had no answer for the stairs and claimed the ramp was never intended or required to be ADA compliant. Handicapped/stroller users were supposed to take the sidewalk down to the main vehicle entrance.

    Saul Centers' next fix, supposedly without VDOT/Loudoun agreement, was to eliminate the continuous ramp by taking out 4' of walkway, put in curbing around the handicapped street/crosswalk ramp, and rely totally on the sidewalk around to the stairs or vehicle entrance. Saul's official perspective was no one would jump the curb to cross the 4' of "grass" and use the ramp.

    Again, I complained to VDOT, Loudoun, and Ms McCary this was not an acceptable answer for our community. During this time, I met with a Saul Centers rep who clearly just wanted it done and over with, with minimal further cost to Saul and release of their substantial construction bond on the overall project. Literally months went by until the last version you see today was developed by Saul Centers and agreed to by VDOT and Loudoun. I was shown a top view of Saul's proposal and it seemed to make sense; but, I didn't realize the sidewalk rise coming around the corner would form a second ramp like it does now. The main walkway directly into the center was supposed to have a relatively level area in the middle and at the bottom (I'm not certain what's there is "level"), and is still supposed to get handrails alongside the ramp to supposedly make it ADA compliant by the end of December. The current version is a good improvement from having two light poles in the middle of the walkway or no continuous walkway at all. While it is usable by the great majority of people, I doubt it meets ADA requirements for slope adjacent a roadway, particularly a major intersection. However, I don't intend to pursue the issue any further. If anyone else is interested in pursuing it, I'll make the entire email stream I have between all parties available.

    What I've learned is:
    1. If you don't speak up, nothing will get done; if you do speak up something may get done that you don't like;
    2. Corporate entities like Saul Centers don't care much about the communities they make money from;
    3. Our state and local government reps put on a show, but really aren't much better at it than the corporations they supposedly regulate, and are often more interested in applying the letter of the law than the intent;
    4. Virginia roadway development processes are similar to horses designed by committee...it results in camels too high to easily mount, wont use the saddles everyone has, stop when you want them to move, move when you want them to stop, and readily spit in the face of those that have to ride or walk around them.
    I heartily recommend everyone take up a cause like this at least once; it's very humbling.
    Tom
     
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  3. Dawne

    Dawne HOA Sec-Treas/Tech Comm

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    As a bonus - one of the sidewalk sections has already cracked. I would hope Saul Centers would have the contractor repour that section - before the winter causes a heave and a trip hazard they have to correct at their own expense next year.

    Course, I doubt they read these forums...
     

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