May 19, 2019

Projects

Current projects underway or under consideration by the Civic League:

1. Sidewalk Initiative – Fact finding, process determination, benefits, impact, and petition process for a possible sidewalk on the KMES side of Edwin, at the request of a number of residents.
The Civic League Board expects to mail the below letter to property owners on the east (school) side of Edwin Drive the week of 18 Mar 19. The intent of the letter is to provide the details of an initiative to determine if a sidewalk along Edwin to connect to existing walkways at the LSRC pool and the bank at Independence and Edwin. In the letter we ask for an informal, non-binding response as to whether or not potentially affected property owners would support this project. We will present this as a topic at the next civic league meeting on 01 May 2019. The below Contact form is for affected property owners use. The letter is shown in full below that.


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Sidewalk Initiative Status Update Slides – presented to General Membership Meeting 01 May 2019
Sidewalk Initiative Update 01 May 19

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“14 Mar 2019
Subject: Edwin Drive Sidewalk Initiative Proposal
Dear Larkspur Neighborhood Edwin Drive Residential Property Owner,
Over the past year, the Larkspur Civic League Board of Trustees has received requests from Larkspur residents to investigate the possibility of having a sidewalk installed within Larkspur and along Edwin Drive between Princess Anne Road and Independence Blvd.
The civic league board is not in a position to endorse or negate any sidewalk project, however the board feels that it is in a position of responsibility, within its role, to conduct research, facilitate the discussion, and enable the stake-holder parties the opportunity to make an informed decision to support or not support a sidewalk request.
Thus, in order to be responsive to resident requests, several members of the Board of Trustees were tasked to research the feasibility of requesting such a sidewalk and to gain an understanding of the process in order to ensure that affected stake-holder parties, principally affected property owners, have a voice in determining whether this initiative could or could not go forward to the city.
As a result of our research, I am writing you, the property owner, to familiarize you with the details we have gathered to date, and the process that the City of Virginia Beach Public Utilities Traffic Engineering office requires that we follow.
A sidewalk cannot be installed without a minimum of 75% of the affected property owners agreeing to the project. An affected property is one on Edwin, or a side yard on Edwin, on the side of the street where the sidewalk is proposed to go.
The desire for sidewalks within Larkspur has been a topic off and on over the years. It has become a current topic again, in large part due to the number of families with younger children that have been moving into Larkspur in the past several years. Many of these families lament their inability to safely transit Edwin Drive for walking or jogging with their children; and in particular walking to Mt. Trashmore Park at the northern end and to the pool, school, and/or churches at the southern end.
With the continued development in all directions in the Kempsville area, traffic volume has increased, with Edwin Drive experiencing more and more daily traffic. At this time, approximately 6,000 vehicles a day transit Edwin. In the United States, about 64,000 pedestrians are killed each year. While not all of these deaths occur in neighborhoods, the fact remains that a child (or adult) can ride a bike and run on sidewalks, or in the street. It is far more dangerous for people to be in the street. In Larkspur, this is particularly acute where Edwin narrows south of the power line crossing. Not only is not having sidewalks more dangerous for children, it is also a challenge for some of our more senior residents.
The expected benefits of a sidewalk on the South East Side of Edwin Drive would include:
• The enhanced safety of our residents as the principal benefit, achieved by physically separating pedestrian and vehicular travel.
• Improved opportunities for safe and healthy recreational activities for adults as well as children.
• Improved mobility to access the park, pool, school, and other facilities.
• Projecting an outdoor and child friendly view of Larkspur. As a side note, the younger families moving in generally upgrade/modernize their homes, which in turn promote the viability of Larkspur as a desired neighborhood and resultant property values. To that end, a sidewalk may improve property value.
Members of the Board of Trustees contacted the City of Virginia Beach, Public Utilities Traffic Engineering and learned the following:
• A minimum of 75% of the affected properties would have to have an owner sign a sidewalk partition for the project to begin. Affected owner(s) are those where the right of way would be used, including front and/or corner lot sides. A copy of that petition is included in this mailing simply for information.
• The city supports and promotes sidewalks for safety and as neighborhood enhancements.
• There is a city budget for sidewalks, meaning that there is no out-of-pocket added cost to residents for sidewalk construction.
• A sidewalk along Edwin fully meets the three criteria of Connectivity (Princess Ann Rd to Independence); School Zone (Kempsville Meadows Elementary); and Destination (Park, School, Pool)
• The south/east side of Edwin (school side) best meets the criteria with connections to existing wide sidewalks at both ends of Edwin.
• The city owns the right of way in front of each property. The property owners are stakeholders however, because they maintain that right of way and are also affected positively or negatively depending on their individual perspective.
• Trees, shrubs, landscaping or other obstacles that encroach the right of way would have to be removed. The residents would be asked to move them, but if they do not, the city would move them when construction began.
• The city will replant three trees for any one tree that would have to be cut down.
We will include a briefing of this sidewalk imitative in the agenda for the next General Membership Meeting scheduled for 01 May at 7:00 pm at Kempsville Meadows Elementary. Several weeks after this mailing and prior to the meeting, several board members will personally contact owners directly.
If there seems to be sufficient support we will designate a specific period of time and hand walk the petition for signature. We will mail this information and an official petition to non-resident property owners.
If we obtain 75% or greater support from the property owners, we will work with the city with respect to a timeline for construction, and inform the community through our web site, other social media, our periodic newsletter, and successive General Membership Meetings. If we do not obtain 75% support, we will also so inform through the same means as above, and shelve the project for the foreseeable future.
In summary, I hope I have outlined and satisfactorily addressed the issues for all of you.
Younger families with children are asking for this. In the aggregate the neighborhood quite likely would benefit from a continuous sidewalk along Edwin and the safer child/senior-friendly neighborhood feel that it would provide. We also know that the collective concerns and views of potentially affected property owners must not only be heard, but must be respected as the final word.
We look forward to hearing from you as to whether or not we will be able to add what could be a significant neighborhood enhancement.
Included below is an informal non-binding survey form to get a general idea of the level of support or non-support. Please either mail it in the return envelope, go on our website at https://larkspurvb.club/projects/ and fill out the form there, or email me at mikeandersonriverside@gmail.com.
Please plan to attend the 01 May 2019 General Membership Meeting.
Most Sincerely,

Mike Anderson
Larkspur Civic League Board President”

2. Traffic Control Measures – In response to the increased daily volume of traffic on Edwin Drive