Letter – Traffic lessons learned

Published 6:02 pm Friday, November 25, 2022

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It was heartening to hear serious discussion about Suffolk’s traffic issues at the Nov. 16 City Council meeting. While most of the focus was on problems surrounding the Northgate Commerce park in North Suffolk, both our Planning Commission and City Council should heed these hard-learned lessons when making future decisions for our city.

The traffic complications along Bridge Road, Shoulders Hill Road and Nansemond Parkway are examples of what can happen when expansive warehouses are developed in conjunction with rapid residential growth and no consideration of the capacity and health of our roads.

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The current recipe being followed near downtown does not bode well for our traffic future: ongoing warehouse construction along U.S. 58 and Carolina Road, numerous high-density subdivisions and apartments underway on Pitchkettle, Godwin, Turlington and Pruden, and the recent rezoning to allow for five million square feet of warehouses on U.S. 460. Included in this mix are narrow, ditch-lined, rural roads, namely: Manning, Lake Kilby, Lake Cohoon, and Indian Trail, all of which are being used as alternate routes for all types of vehicles trying to avoid main road congestion.

We are facing potential rezoning on both Lake Kilby Road and Manning Road that would allow for over 200 and 300 homes respectively on each. There are now almost-daily incidents due to tractor-trailers in these areas. Indian Trail has an 11-foot railroad trestle and trucks are increasingly getting either stuck or having to turn around, causing delays in both directions.

Developers are literally asking to sandwich thousands of current and future residents between multiple warehouse districts with no consideration of what the reality is on the ground. This is happening right outside our downtown at the same time we are trying to revitalize it.

I have been to many city meetings recently and believe our representatives are now listening, but more citizen input is needed. I urge anyone who is concerned about the road situation in Suffolk to attend City Council meetings and send notes to council@suffolkva.us and planningemail@suffolkva.us.

Ann Harris