HEADLONG INTO THE TEETH OF TRAFFIC
As mentioned by the WV Division of Highways (DOH) on WAJR last week, Mon Schools and the DOH recently negotiated Eastwood Elementary access/egress to WV 705 until the 705/119 mileground roundabout (and ultimate school access/egress) is completed in May, 2013, approximately. This runs contrary to the assertion made months ago by Mon Schools that DOH would not tolerate access/egress to WV 705. However, the DOH spokesman stated on WAJR last week that the construction bids for the roundabout have been delayed recently so that an Eastwood access/egress to WV 705 could be determined.
Today the Dominion Post reports that Mon Schools plans for a February 15, 2013 move-in date to Eastwood Elementary. (Welcome to “8 miles per hour.”) No word on whether or not cars and buses would be able or allowed to make a left-hand turn back toward the mileground and toward Woodburn/Jerome Park/etc from that school egress on WV 705. If not, if left-hand turns are denied or are impossible, all vehicles exiting the school would need to head down to the Stewartstown road stoplight and figure out how to get back from there. Will the DOH install a temporary traffic light at the school drive? Or will Mon Schools provide personnel to direct traffic in the midst of construction on a four lane thruway? What a mess.
All that is publicly known in this regard amounts to information dating back well over a year:
April 12, 2011
CRAZY CIRCLE TO WOODBURN AREA FROM THE EASTWOOD SITE ON THE MILEGROUND
According to Superintendent Frank Devono, on WAJR yesterday, you would have to drive, your children would have to ride, through the catchments of two other elementary schools to return to the Woodburn area, even though the Eastwood Mileground site sits in (barely, if that) the Woodburn catchment and is only a half mile from Woodburn. You would have to drive and your children would have to ride several miles in a big roundabout loop through North Elementary’s catchment. How is that for negligent? Why don’t they just rename the school North II, the more negligent model. That crazy circle home for Woodburn area children was the best the Superintendent could offer on the radio yesterday. Mon Schools has not asked for a traffic light to be put on WV 705, thus, only right turns onto WV 705 is Mon Schools’ operative thinking.
[An official with WV Division of Highways is on record remarking that, in regard to potential school and gas station siting, “it’s safe to say that no one from the District or DT is going to be accepting of the idea to install a signal anywhere near this intersection” which would be needed on WV 705 to allow school traffic to make a left turn to be able to return to Woodburn area. (see DOH correspondence below)]
Of course, nothing is finalized yet, so maybe your children will have to fly to the moon each day, too, before they can return to the Woodburn area. When it comes to Mon Schools and the Eastwood Mileground site, nothing should surprise anyone.
WV DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS CORRESPONDENCE ABOUT SHEETZ GAS STATION, THE SCHOOL, AND THE INTERSECTION (BOLD ADDED):
From: Davis, Michael R
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 11:24 AM
To: Cramer, David E
Cc: Radabaugh, Bryan L; Pifer, Jeff M
Subject: Proposed Elementary School and Sheetz, Mon. Co.
Hey Dave. We wanted to give you a quick heads up regarding some upcoming issues in Mon Co. Last week, Mr. Terry Astleford, a real estate developer representing Sheetz stopped in to the District to go over a few sites they are looking at in Mon Co. One location in particular, at the NE corner of WV 705 and the Mileground (US 119) presents numerous concerns. In addition to the Sheetz, apparently a new Elementary School is also being considered further back on the same corner.
As you know, getting traffic into and out of Morgantown is a never ending struggle and keeping traffic moving at this intersection is critical. Ultimately, we would like to have 2 lanes continuous to I-68 and a few different alternatives, I understand, are being considered to accomplish this. At least one of these involves adding a lane to the Mileground.
I don’t see how we could allow left turns onto either side of this corner without a signal. And its safe to say that no one from the District or DT is going to be accepting of the idea to install a signal anywhere near this intersection.Perhaps the school would propose to construct an entrance a good distance away from the corner itself on WV 705, but I don’t know. Mr. Astleford was representing the interests of Sheetz primarily so of course he is concerned with the corner itself.
Anyway, you may already be aware of discussions regarding the school, but as of yet, we haven’t seen anything official at the District. Since we assume its still very early in the planning stages, we just wanted to let you know of our concerns so you could have them in mind.
WV Division of Highways
David E. Cramer, PE
WV Department of Transportation
Commissioner’s Office of Economic Development
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Building 5, Room 129
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
FOIA release (below) from WVU showing Sheetz’ early interest in a dual school/gas station drive, at the corner WVU parcel (above). After WV DOH planned to put the 705/119 intersection on that corner WVU parcel, Sheetz shifted its interest and plans to the armory site. However, this still leaves a dual access possible from the intersection: school/gas station access, ”a combined entrance” (see below). Why would Sheetz not want that direct access from the intersection to an armory gas station? In fact Sheetz would need such access to allow traffic from both sides of the impending divided highway to reach a gas station at the armory site.
See, below, part of our Freedom of Information Act request of the WV Division of Highways.
This FOIA release shows Sheetz’ most recent interest in the armory site bordering the school grounds very close to the would-be school building:
From: ”Cramer, David E” <David.E.Cramer@wv.gov>
To: ”Davis, Michael R” <Michael.R.Davis@wv.gov>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 08:41:22 -0400
Subject: RE: Another Sheetz Request
I can coordinate this project for DOH. Sheetz’ rep can contact me. Thanks.
From: Davis, Michael R
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 3:17 PM
To: Cramer, David E
Subject: Another Sheetz Request
This one is proposed for the Mileground adjacent to the existing Armory away from the intersection with 705. (Sorry, I have a plan view, but apparently our scanner isn’t working because I’m not getting anything from it). As you’ll recall from the mtg. last week, once the Armory gets their new property over at the Airport this property will likely be put up for sale by the City and Sheetz wants it. The fellow we met with from Sheetz inquired about a signal at the proposed intersection, but I don’t see how that can be possible with all the emphasis being placed on improving traffic flow through this area.
Do you want me to do the same thing with this one and just let them know to contact you on this project? I imagine DD and DT will have a lot to say about this one.
Just let me know. Thanks.
FOIA release from Monongalia County Schools showing Sheetz’ original interest in a land parcel by the school drive :
From: Frank Devono <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 9:30 AM
To: Sarah Bauer; Boe Betty Lou; Terry Hawkins; Donna Talerico; Becky Mattern; Daniel McGinnis
Subject: Fwd: Mileground Road
Categories: Blue Category
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Terry M. Astleford” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: March 27, 2010 7:27:06 PM EDT
Cc: Frank Devono <email@example.com>, “hazelet, david p” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Terry McMillen <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, ehensley <email@example.com>,firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Mileground Road
Mickey and I met with Dr. Devono last week to discuss my interest in the 2.17 acre parcel at the intersection of Mileground Road and Rte 705. Dr. Devono was a gracious host as he took time to explain the school district’s plan to acquire the rear portion of the Mileground parcel for the development of a campus for the pre-K to K-5 student body. As I remained interested in the 2.17 acre parcel, I suggest that a meeting be arranged for all interested parties. From my side, I would like to have represented my tenant; Sheetz, my engineer and my legal counsel. I suggest these participants so that I clearly understand the procedure for acquisition of the corner parcel. Also, my tenant has an expectation of their presentation at the site. Bringing everyone together will eliminate confusion and misunderstandings in the future. Please let me know when you are available in the next few weeks. Possibly we can meet at your office or possibly I can impose on Dr. Devono to let us meet at his office. Give me several dates and times that you are available and I will coordinate a date and time agreeable to all.