Cape Henry Shores Civic Association                

          P.O. Box 5351

   Virginia Beach, VA 23471

 

 

October 10, 2007

 

Mayor Oberndorf and City Council Members

2401 Courthouse Drive

Municipal Center, Bldg. 1

Virginia Beach, VA 23456

 

Re:  Forwarding of petition and background paper for the proposed installation of a

       traffic light and pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Shore Dr. and Kendall St.

 

Dear Mayor Oberndorf and City Council Members,

 

The Cape Henry Shores Civic Association voted unanimously at our July 24, 2007, meeting to prepare and circulate to our community residents a petition (see Enclosure (1)) for the proposed installation of a traffic signal light and pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Shore Dr. and Kendall St. The traffic signal light we envision would automatically operate on-demand for vehicles exiting Kendall St. onto Shore Drive and via manual pushbutton actuation for pedestrians/bikers seeking to cross Shore Drive; otherwise, the signal light’s operation would normally display green for Shore Dr. traffic. While our internal review would seemingly indicate that such a traffic signal installation may not be justifiable in terms of strictly meeting criteria or “warrants” of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTC),” we conclude that the “sight distance” ranges from the cross street of Kendall to Shore Drive vehicles approaching this intersection are so limited as to seriously fall short of minimum sighting standards of traffic engineering sense - if not applicable federal, state, and local code. We believe that such an installation is necessary to markedly help improve the personal safety of our community’s citizens and visitors, and especially to head off tragedies almost certainly lurking of serious injury and death, because of the factors and reasons as detailed in the Annex A and B attachments.

 

The vast majority of residents of the Cape Henry Shores community of 187 total homes have given their support of signature approval to the enclosed petition for the installation of a traffic signal light and pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Shore Dr. and Kendall St. The levels of support by home are 77 per cent of the total 187 homes and 80 per cent of the total 179 homes responding to the circulated petition (for a 179/187 or 96 percent availability-reporting outcome). A total of 222 signatures of our community residents are affixed to the circulated copies of the petition (available for review upon request).

 

We ask that the City of Virginia Beach both listen to the overwhelming majority voices of our community’s residents calling for a traffic light and pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Shore Drive and Kendall St. and appropriately act to approve both installations.

 

 

Thank you for considering this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 
 

Gilbert J. Shortt,

President, Cape Henry Shores Civic Association

 

 Enclosure: (1) Copy of the Cape Henry Shores Civic Assn. petition circulated to CHS

                         residents (18 Aug.-15 Sept. 2007), “Installation of a traffic signal

light/pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Shore Drive and Kendall                     

St.”

 

Annex A:         Background Paper: Proposed Installation of a Traffic Signal Light

                         and Pedestrian Crosswalk at Intersection of Kendall St. and Shore Drive

 

Annex B:         Supporting Exhibits:

     

(B-1)    Copy of Overhead Imagery (9/1/2004) of Shore Dr. from Hatton St. to

Kendall St., online download from <terraserver.com> via provider GlobeXplorer, at resolution of 0.6096 meters.

(B-2)    Copy of City of Virginia Beach’s online “eMapping:” zoom-in of

            Shore Dr. inclusive of Walke and Kendall Streets.

      (B-2a) Legend for sheet B-2.

(B-3)    Photo of Shore Dr. eastward approach to intersection with Kendall

                  St. from a driver’s vantage D1 of an exiting CHS vehicle stopped at a  

                  two-ft setback position from the southern edge of intersection.

                        (B-4)    Photo of Shore Dr. eastward approach to intersection with Kendall

                                    St. from a driver’s vantage D2 of an exiting CHS vehicle stopped at

                                    the painted stop mark on pavement set back about 16-ft.from southern

                                    edge of intersection.

                        (B-5)    Photo of Shore Dr. westward approach to intersection with Kendall

                                    St. from a driver’s vantage D1 of an exiting CHS vehicle stopped at a

                                    two-ft setback position from the southern edge of intersection.

                        (B-6)    Photo of Shore Dr. eastward approach to intersection with Kendall

                                    St. and a CHS-exiting city vehicle stopped at a two-ft encroachment

                                    into intersection (outer lane of Shore Dr.) to gain his field of view.

                       

(Note: B-3 through B-6 photos were photographed September 28, 2007).                 

 

                                                            Enclosure (1)

 

PETITION

 

We, the residents of Cape Henry Shores, being duly concerned with the imperiled

safety of our fellow residents do hereby petition the City Council of Virginia Beach

for the installation of a traffic signal light/pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of

Shore Drive and Kendall Street.

 

The installation of a traffic light at Shore Drive and Kendall Street has been requested

previously and disapproved by the Traffic Engineering Department citing lack of traffic

volume to warrant such an installation, although this intersection is the only exit for our

entire subdivision of 187 homes. After yet another serious traffic accident recently at this intersection in May 2007, we believe that this intersection still presents a significantly

higher degree of hazard than most because of Shore Drive’s curvature to the west of this intersection, which impedes adequate visibility of oncoming traffic. Using the only exit

for Cape Henry Shores at Kendall Street, drivers must accurately judge both the distance

and the speed of oncoming eastbound traffic while clearing the way of westbound traffic

presently on Shore drive. At the posted 45MPH speeds of eastbound and westbound

traffic, the margin of safety is inadequate as evidenced by the seriousness and high

number of accidents as recounted by the residents of this subdivision. With the increased

vehicular traffic volume on Shore Drive in recent years, this danger has been further

amplified. We believe that the cost of a traffic light should not be prohibitive when

compared with the present dangers for both vehicles exiting this subdivision and

pedestrians attempting to cross a busy Shore Drive. A pedestrian/biker crosswalk with a

push-button actuated change of light at this intersection would significantly improve

safety at this crossing and permit the increased numbers of pedestrians accessing the city’s recently installed beach-access walkway more time to clear this busy road.

 

We, the residents of Cape Henry Shores, having signed this petition, request a more

comprehensive review and reconsideration from the City Council to approve and

fund the installation of a traffic light/pedestrian crosswalk at Shore Drive and

Kendall Street.

 

Name                                                  Address                                   Signature               *

 

1._____________________________________________________________________

 

2._____________________________________________________________________

 

3._____________________________________________________________________

 

4._____________________________________________________________________

 

5._____________________________________________________________________

                                                                                    *SEE COMMENT SHEET

ANNEX  A

 

                    Background Paper: Proposed Installation of a Traffic Signal Light

                 and Pedestrian Crosswalk at Intersection of Kendall St. and Shore Drive

 

·        This intersection, the only exit for our Cape Henry Shores (CHS) subdivision of 187 homes, has been historically hazardous for our exiting drivers, marked by numerous, serious accidents and unofficially reported near-misses experienced by our residents. Just since April 2006, the city police department’s second precinct has recorded six accidents at this intersection, three of which occurred in May 2007, with one of those known to be a broadside hit and totaled vehicle of a CHS resident, though miraculously resulting in only minor injuries to each party.

 

·        Most intersections with a U.S. multi-lane, divided highway of high traffic volume, as Shore Dr./U.S. 60 is (see area overhead image, Annex B-1), are inherently hazardous in the absence of a traffic signal. What makes this particular intersection significantly more dangerous than most is Shore Drive’s left-bearing curvature eastbound through about 15-degrees, largely spanning between Walke and past First Landing Streets, or about 1.5-to-three blocks (about 450 to 925-ft) to its west (see Annex B-1 and further detail in area map, Annex B-2).  From the vantage point of a CHS exiting vehicle “A” driver stopped at the intersection, sighting of eastbound Shore Dr. vehicles approaching the intersection is entirely masked until inner lane vehicles become first, and thereafter, observable upon proceeding east of Walke St; and outer lane vehicles become visible - first only momentarily - at Walke St., then are virtually masked again, in a “black-hole”-like effect, until reaching about mid-way between First Landing and Calvert Streets. The latter is a mere block and a half (about 450-ft) west of the intersection with Kendall St., a distance that such a vehicle travels in 6.8 seconds at 45 MPH and just 5.6 seconds if speeding at 55 MPH. The foregoing sight ranges are further only facilitated if the vehicle “A” driver elects to creep out beyond the stop mark painted on pavement and comes to an extremis stop that allows his front bumper to be set back only about two perilous feet from the imaginary, extended line to Shore Drive’s outer lane pavement edge (see photo exhibit, Annex B-3). Regardless whether exiting CHS drivers are making a left or right turn onto Shore Dr., their reaction times in terms of making a decision to proceed or not from a stop, as well as their ultimate maneuvering times, are sliced in margin to the barest of seconds. The painted stop line on Kendall St. at the CHS exit way is set back about 16-feet from the same imaginary, extended line to Shore Drive’s outer lane pavement edge. A Kendall St. exiting vehicle “A” driver adhering to this “enforceable,” marked stop line is deprived of any sighting of eastbound Shore Dr. vehicles approaching the intersection until they emerge at about two-thirds block (inner lane) and about one-third block (outer lane), or less, west of the intersection, negating its utility and advisability of choice completely (see photo exhibit, Annex B-4). This situation presents a severe and dangerous shortfall in the already thinnest of margins of safety for this intersection.

 

·        Intersection approach volume from CHS is predominantly left-turn traffic. A driver executing a left turn there, (westward) onto Shore Dr., needs to further pre-clear the way of westbound Shore Dr. vehicles approaching the intersection. However, pre-clearing westbound Shore Dr. vehicles must further contend with obstructive impediments in the form of city plantings of low canopy trees and ornamental grasses in the roadway median between Kendall St. and the First Landing State Park camp-ground intersection to its east (see photo exhibit, Annex B-5).  As a consequence, the more risk-assuming left-turn driver may oft times elect to negotiate his left turn in two phases and temporarily “hole up” in the middle of the intersection while attempting to clear westbound vehicles. However, this is an ill advised and extremely risky practice in the face of having his vehicle often “sandwiched” by virtue of the inherently dangerous close separation distances from his front and rear bumpers to any westbound and eastbound Shore Dr. vehicles, respectively, proceeding through the intersection. City traffic engineers consulted with on site in years past have recommended against left turn exits from CHS and, instead, drivers to negotiate a right turn (eastward), proceed eastward to the First Landing State Park’s campground traffic signal light and negotiate a U-turn to join westbound lanes of Shore Dr. Clearly, such a recommendation is neither an adequate nor an efficient option in added time-distance (-0.7 mile) for widespread acceptance by CHS resident drivers who overwhelmingly reject it in practice. Moreover, sighting distances to eastbound Shore Dr. vehicles are virtually equally limited for a right-hand or left-hand turn exit from CHS, posing little to no safety advantage there in a right turn, albeit a potentially safer traffic signal-aided pre-clearing of westbound Shore vehicles is available at the campground cross street.

 

·        Kendall, “side street” traffic volume was manually counted unofficially, as part of our internal review, at 80 vehicles per hour in a randomly elected timeframe from 11 am to 12 noon on Tuesday, September 11, 2007. Peak-hour volumes would be expected to be much higher, albeit our community’s peak-hour, 4-hour and 8-hour volumes still may well not be sufficient to meet typical minimum volume threshold, decision criteria for installation of a traffic signal light as specified in the Manual on Unitform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). However, we believe that further, special considerations in such a decision for this intersection, as provisioned for in the MUTCD, need to be addressed in the area of effect and influence of Shore Dr. roadway, median, turning lane,   and residential driveway features, especially its left-bearing, eastbound curve leading into the intersection with Kendal St., which collectively contribute to severely limited sighting distances to - and sighting intermittency of - Shore Dr./U.S. 60 vehicles approaching this intersection. Sufficiently limited sight distances from a cross street stop should be allowed to weigh in heavily in the event of insufficient cross street traffic volume, or any other potential shortfalls,  to meet minimum threshold criteria when it comes to making such a traffic signal light/pedestrian crosswalk decision bearing on the prevention of accidents and saving of lives.

 

·        A significant number of our community’s residents, many with small children in tow, routinely avail themselves to Bay beach going via exercising their right of walking passage, especially - yet by no means exclusively - in the summer season. Nearly all use Kendall St. to cross Shore Dr. to access and return from the beach. This traffic has further increased in numbers since the city’s beach walkway at the foot of Kendall St. was installed in summer 2006. Unofficial pedestrian volume counts were not undertaken

 

A-2

as part of our internal review. Pedestrians or bikers attempting to cross Shore Dr. there experience virtually the same grossly inadequate Shore Dr. traffic sighting limitations as described above for exiting CHS vehicles, often having to “hole up” in mid-intersection, while at the same time are exposed to even greater safety risk of bodily injury or death from any resulting accident involving a vehicle. A pedestrian/biker crosswalk with a manual, push-button-actuated change of light at this intersection is sorely needed to help markedly improve safety through a dedicated right-of-way of adequate cycle duration  for individuals to negotiate crossing this busy U.S. multi-lane, divided highway.

 

·        The intersection of Kendall St. and Shore Drive is further situated geographically such that it bears the perceived community brunt of Shore Drive vehicles proceeding in excess of the posted speed limit of 45 MPH. We believe that appropriate, auto-mated measurements of speed of Shore Dr. vehicles in this stretch would verify this point. Cape Henry Shores is the last residential community that eastbound Shore Dr. vehicles pass before the posted speed limit increases to 55 MPH at about 450-ft. east of the First Landing State Park’s campground intersection located nearly four-tenths mil to the east of CHS. The perception is that this 0.75-mile stretch of Shore Drive, extending from about 0.25-mile to the west of CHS to the posted 55 MPH speed limit lends itself to higher speeds than its posted 45 MPH limit in that a driver’s sense and call for speed prematurely ramps up in anticipation of the wide open “frontier” zone on ahead through First Landing State Park to Fort Story, and beyond to the ocean-front. Similarly, Cape Henry Shores is the first residential community reached by westbound Shore Dr. vehicles proceeding from the oceanfront and Fort Story. For the latter driver, whom has been conditioned to a 55 MPH posted limit in that stretch and, moreover, may be otherwise speed-prone, his sense of a wide open “frontier” zone is apt to continue, despite the first westbound 45 MPH speed limit being posted about 450-ft east of the First Landing State Park campground intersection, until his reaching of the initial residential communities in CHS and Cape Story to its west help toggle his realization/motivation to then begin reducing speed from 55 MPH or more. This prone-to-speeding situation through the intersection of Shore Dr. and Kendall St., causes this intersection to be even further dangerous in that reaction times further proportionately diminish for all concerned, i.e., Shore Dr. drivers, CHS exiting as well as entering vehicle drivers, and pedestrians/bikers, in the absence of a traffic signal light and crosswalk at this intersection. In addition to diminished reaction times, available maneuvering times for Kendall drivers making either a right or left turn, and available intersection crossing times for its pedestrians/ bikers, are senselessly compressed.

 

Summary - Our review concludes that the “sight distance” ranges from the cross street of Kendall to Shore Drive vehicles approaching this intersection are so limited as to seriously fall short of minimum sight distance standards of traffic engineering sense - if not applicable federal, state, and local code. We believe both traffic signal light and pedestrian crosswalk installations are necessary to markedly help improve the personal safety of our community’s citizens and visitors, and especially to head off tragedies almost certainly lurking of serious injury and death, because of the factors and reasons as detailed above and as shown in Annex B.

 

                                                                        A-3

 
 

   ANNEX  B

 

                                       Supporting Exhibits B-1 through B-6

 

[ Note: these exhibits in the original letter to the city, graphical and photographic in content, are excluded for purposes of brevity  from the e-posting herein with the exception of B-2 which may be viewed in a separate, companion e-posting attachment entitled  “eMapofShore-Kendall.” The “legend” for this B-2 graphic, necessary for its appropriate interpretation, is reproduced as sheet B-2a on following page ]

 


 

(B-2a) Legend for sheet B-2:

 

Point D1:          vantage position of driver of Kendall vehicle set back a perilous 2-ft from intersection.

Point D2:          vantage position of driver of Kendall vehicle set back 16-ft from intersection at painted stop mark on pavement.        

Point T1: canopy of most westward tree of series of eight crepe myrtle trees situated in

                        Shore median between First Landing and Calvert.

Points M & P:  series of mailboxes (M1, M2, M3), and telephone poles (P1, P2, P3, P4).

Point VP: vehicle(s) parked in residence driveway at 2565 Shore Dr. property adjacent

CHS exit way. Driveway max. depth is only 23-ft. from edge of pavement of U.S.

60/Shore Dr. outer lane, just 16.4-ft. from edge of shoulder.    

LOB-1:            line-of-bearing one defined by points D1, T1.

LOB-2:            line-of-bearing two defined by points D1, M1/M2/M3, P1. LOB-2 is subject to clockwise rotation defined by points D1, VP, when VP vehicle(s) typically parked non-parallel to Shore and protrudes within 8.3-ft of edge of pavement of U.S. 60/Shore Dr. outer lane. Such    a vehicle of conservative 18-ft. length, and parked fully into driveway and perpendicular to Shore, encroaches into roadway shoulder and to within 5-ft of the edge of outer lane.

LOB-3:            line of-bearing three defined by points D2, VP.

-A-----A-:       imaginary line of select demarcation between far- and near- field of view one

(FOV-1) effected by/drawn through T1 impediment.

FOV-1F:          far field of view from D1 of Shore eastbound, defined by LOB-1 and LOB-2 to

west of imaginary line A-A through T1.

FOV-1N:         near field of view from D1 of Shore eastbound, defined by LOB-2 and median of

Shore Dr. to east of imaginary line A-A through T1.

FOV-2:            field of view (cross-hatched area) from D2 of Shore eastbound, defined by LOB-

3 on western edge and median of Shore Dr.

-------- :                      Approximate pavement edge of Shore eastbound outer lane, extended as an

imaginary line through intersection of Shore and Kendall.