Letter – Project would bring additional unwanted traffic

Published 7:29 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

To the editor:

My husband and I are not “born and bred” Suffolkians. We are from rural areas outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved our young family to Virginia in 1986 when the steel mills failed causing catastrophic loss of work in our cities.

Businesses closed and school censuses fell as people moved from the area to support their families, and we found ourselves in that position, as well. Much of the area has still not recovered.

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After several interviews and offers of teaching positions for Rick, we decided he would accept the one from Suffolk Public Schools, and move our family to Virginia. We knew we wanted to live in Suffolk, as it reminded us of where we grew up, and wanted our children to have that same experience of rural life and community. Initially, we could not find housing in Suffolk, so we rented an apartment in Churchland. We moved to downtown Suffolk in 1989, where we lived until we were offered rental of a farm house on Mockingbird Lane in 1992.

We absolutely loved being able to move to the country, and by that time we had made many good friends, found a marvelous church family, become an active part of the community and considered Suffolk our home away from home.

In 1999, we built our home on Cherokee Drive in Russell Point, and have lived there since that time. A wonderful neighborhood with great neighbors, it has been everything we wanted. My parents moved from Pennsylvania and in with us in 2002 due to declining health, and are interred in the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Veterans Cemetery.

Rick retired from Suffolk Public Schools in 2015 after teaching art education at Robertson, Holland, and Southwestern elementaries, and Nansemond River High School. All three of our children graduated from NRHS. We worship here. We support local businesses, organizations, museums and what little entertainment opportunities that become available.

We have seen many changes in Suffolk during the years we have lived here. Some good, some not so good, and now the citizens of Suffolk are looking at an expansion of unsightly warehouses at major entries into Suffolk, of which some are unoccupied. I was unable to attend the City Council Meeting on Aug. 3, but I did listen to all of the comments regarding the Port 460 proposal on YouTube. Rick and I also attended the Matan meeting on Aug. 4 where many valid comments and concerns were voiced by Suffolk citizens, but the most recurring concern seemed to be regarding the effects on traffic in our city. I would like to add our concerns to those expressed.

It is no secret that U.S. 58 and U.S. 460 are dangerous roads to travel. A trip down U.S. 460 has become a “white knuckle” drive if traveled for any distance.

Summer traffic is even heavier as people travel through our area on their way to and from vacationing in the Outer Banks in order to avoid our congested bridge tunnels. We also have families from many areas in Virginia and North Carolina traveling here to bury their loved ones at the Veterans Cemetery, and returning to pay respects. Add to all of that tractor trailers that are notorious for running lights on U.S. 460, and it is definitely a recipe for disasters of monstrous proportions.

I have lost count of the number of times I would have been hit going through the intersection of Lake Prince and U.S. 460 if I had not hesitated a few moments after my light turned green, due to trucks running the light. This has happened to every member of my family, and I am sure we are not the only ones that have experienced that frightening situation. And now we are asked to accept a significant increase in the number of trucks that travel our roads. Unconscionable!

It is our hope that Suffolk citizens do not have to “take one for the state,” and have this rezoning pushed on us against our wishes. Surely there are more useful, attractive and practical ways to be found to develop this beautiful property which would be beneficial to our city and its citizens. I ask that you do not betray the faith and trust that was placed in you when you were elected to City Council. Your decision will speak volumes to the citizens. Thank you for the opportunity to express our opinions.

Linda French

Suffolk