VDOT to Blame in Hillsboro

I have some concerns about Andrew F. Pitas's letter, "A Missed Opportunity" [Loudoun Extra, Aug. 22], which sets Hillsboro's Route 9 traffic problem squarely on my family's shoulders and those of my neighbors.

As residents of Hillsboro for 16 years, my family was here during discussions of the state's three proposed alternative routes around Hillsboro, and these are the facts:

The only proposal that came near to being an actual bypass around Hillsboro -- one that would run just south of town -- was discouraged by the owners of the properties in question and not by the residents of Hillsboro. The Virginia Department of Transportation did not contact other landowners to seek an alternative southern route.

The other routes, which were acceptable to the majority of those at these meetings, were a bypass well north of Hillsboro over the mountain or a connector road south between Route 9 at the West Virginia line and the four-lane Route 7. After this public inquiry, VDOT let the whole business die -- not for lack of shouting from little Hillsboro. So after years of waiting for VDOT to solve our problem, traffic calming presented itself as the one thing we can actually do for ourselves.

Pitas says the result of traffic calming will "keep the road substandard to discourage people from moving out to the country or using it as an out-of-state commuter route." Actually, we welcome any and all who will drive through town at the posted 25-mph speed limit. It's those other folks we're concerned about: the vast majority who never pass through at less than 50 mph if they can help it.

Pitas's letter goes on to say: "The slow-growth philosophy is that if the county stalls long enough . . . the optimum routes for such roads will get built up with housing, parks, etc." Truth is, it was a VDOT "slow-decision philosophy" that caused our current situation. As I recall, the previous Loudoun County slow-growth board wasn't in office long enough to take over the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Meredith Bean McMath

Hillsboro