Neighbor Letters
Save Shoemaker School Road

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Added 6 p.m. January 8

Dear Sir,
 
I was very surprised to hear that a petition to pave Shoemaker School Road had been circulated and that up to 80% of the people who live along this road support that petition.  We live on Swan Court, off of Shoemaker School Road, and were never contacted regarding our views on this issue.  The majority of people we have frequent contact with along this road do not seem to support it, either.
 
I would like to go on record that I and my family are NOT in favor of paving Shoemaker School Road.  Our sons ride their bikes on this road to get to friends' houses, we walk our dog, and go for runs on this road.  While most of our neighbors are very responsible about their speed along this Shoemaker, many vehicles cutting through to Telegraph Springs Road are not.  We have witnessed cars travelling at speeds over 45 mph (we followed them and clocked them)!  That is way too fast for a gravel road.  What speed will they go on a paved road?  Scary!  We're worried that more vehicles will use Shoemaker School Road as a cut through to Telegraph Springs Road if it is paved.
 
Our family moved out here because we wanted to feel we were somewhat removed from civilization.  The gravel road certainly adds to that feeling.  We realize we are not really that far removed and that homes will continue to be built around us, but it doesn't seem like it's time, yet, to invite all the frenzy in.  Thank you for listening to our opinions.
 
Sincerely,
Mary Beth Stimeling and family

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January 8 update: Another resident opposes paving

Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2008 13:18:41 EST
Subject: Shoemaker School Road NOT FOR PAVING

Dear Mr. Burton, 

It came to our attention last week that you have entered Shoemaker School Road in Loudoun County into the Rural Rustic Roads Program.  This morning, I read your note (posted at http://saveshoemakerschoolroad .googlepages.com) in which you suggest that the paving proposal was instigated by a petition circulated among road residents.  My family and I live on the corner of Shoemaker and Swan Court (with most of the property abutting Shoemaker), but we have neither seen nor signed any such petition.  
 
We strongly oppose this action, and were wholly surprised to learn that you had taken it, and even more surprised at how quickly a hearing was scheduled (for next month).  Because most of our neighbors on Swan and in the adjacent houses on Shoemaker oppose the paving of the road, we are at a loss to understand who or what is the impetus for this plan, and especially hope that the driving force has not come from the developers who are preparing to construct homes on Telegraph Springs Road.  We want sincerely to urge our view--which appears to us to be that of the majority who live here: do not pave the road.
 
Claims about the Roads Program's ability to preserve the "rural" and/or "rustic" feeling of the road and the countryside through which it passes are disproved by other examples in the County (Mt. Gilead and Loudoun Orchard Roads) that have been subsumed by this program.  These roads are no longer "rustic" dirt or gravel roads; they are paved.  This simple fact ushers in a host of unwelcome changes: increased traffic on the road, along with increased speeds--and thus a roadway made much more dangerous for those who live, work, and play on and around it.  I run nearly the full length of Shoemaker School Road almost every day, and as I ran today, I realized that more cars and trucks traveling at higher speeds, up and down blind hills, would simply mean that I would have to stop running on Shoemaker.  And I am not alone.  Many of us run, walk, with our children and our dogs, and ride horses, bikes, and golf carts along this road.  We will no longer be able to do this safely if the road is paved. 
 
Both my husband and I voted to reelect you last November.   Through the last four years--made so painfully difficult by a pro-development Board of Supervisors--we have been grateful to support you and your stewardship of the western part of the County.  This move to pave our road, however, seems to us decidedly out of keeping with what we have understood to be your wish to preserve rural Loudoun, insofar as that is still possible. 
 
Please withdraw Shoemaker School Road from this program. 
 
 
Sincerely,
Jacquelyn A. Fox-Good, Timothy Good,
Anya Elizabeth Good, and Nathanael Adams Good
 
 

Subject: RE: Please reconsider enrolling Shoemaker School Road in the Rural Rustic Roads Program
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 22:15:19 -0500

Dear Mr. Burton -
 
Thank you for your prompt response.
 
Would it be possible to see the petition you reference?  Given the limited number of families that live off of this road and the number that I know do not support this project, nor knew about the Rural Rustic Roads Program, I must confess that I am utterly and totally surprised that such a document was provided. 
 
Many of us would be interested to know how many signed the petition, where they lived and were they fully aware of the issues.  Who organized the petition?   What was the overriding impetus to suggest paving?
 
There is a website that expresses several views of the neighborhood and I am including the URL in this email.
 
http://saveshoemakerschoolroad.googlepages.com/
 
After reviewing the website,  would it be possible for you to provide your views on this matter?  Are you surprised to find out that so many living here are so strongly opposed?  Were you aware of any opposition. 
 
Lastly, is there a particular reason why you chose Shoemaker School Road?  Why not Lickey Mill Road or Colchester Road.  All have developments needing improved access. 
 
Please keep me advised of any public hearings on this matter. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Steve Carter

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January 2, 2008

 Dear Mr Burton,

As a resident of Shoemaker School Rd, business person of Loudoun County, and farm owner, I STRONGLY oppose the paving and use of the Rural Rustic Rd program on Shoemaker School Rd.  Along with many other residents, I feel this would only add to traffic speed and volume to an already busy road where children and adults enjoy riding their bikes, riding horses, jogging, walking their dogs, or simply taking a quiet walk.

I am also sincerely disappointed in the lack of political outreach to the residents of the area in making a decision of this magnitude.  Prior to VDOT taking the time and taxpayers money to take measurements and do a cost analysis, the people should have a say in the public improvements to the area in which they live.

I hope you will reconsider this decision.  If not, I would like to know the procedure to appeal your decision.  Myself and many others would like to maintain the country atmosphere we know and love in Loudoun County.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

 Joy Thompson

Experience Country Living With Joy

Joy Thompson Homes

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December 31, 2007
 
Mr. Jim Burton
1 Harrison Street, S.E.
Fifth Floor
Leesburg, VA 20177
 
RE:  Save Shoemaker School Road
 
Dear Mr. Burton,
 
As the residents of a home that is on Shoemaker School Road, we would like to let you know that we strongly oppose placing the road in the Rural Rustic Roads Program.
 
In its present condition, Shoemaker School Road is more than a means for transportation; it also provides a safe place for children to ride their bikes and their horses, and families to take evening strolls.  We are concerned that paving Shoemaker School Road will increase the volume of traffic as well as the speed of cars that will use our road as a short-cut, and we would lose a safe place for families to gather and exercise.  Even now, we sometimes have to remind non-resident cars and construction trucks who utilize Shoemaker School Road to connect Rte. 690 with Telegraph Springs Road to slow down when they are traveling at excessive speeds.  This problem would only worsen if the road were paved.  In addition, we fear that paving the road will invite crime and vandalism akin to what occurred this past summer to those of us who live directly on Shoemaker School Road, as paving the road would provide vandals with a new and improved place to “cruise” late at night.  Increased traffic volume and speed is a known and well-documented effect of paving a road, and this would be a tremendous hazard to our neighborhood given that the road passes through a mostly residential neighborhood with many small children.
 
Though Shoemaker School Road serves as the primary connection to Rte.690 and Purcellville for the residents who live on it, the majority of the commutes on the road are less than ½  mile.  We believe traveling such a short distance on a dirt road is not a hardship, and it outweighs the potential dangers that may be posed to the children and adults by its paving.  Furthermore, the reasons we were given for paving the road seem a little frivolous:  to have cleaner cars and to avoid pot holes.  We think Loudoun County could utilize its limited taxpayer funds for more useful purposes such as libraries, schools, and other services rather than paving a road so that cars can be cleaner, travel faster, and eliminate a few, infrequent, pot holes which are easily avoided if drivers simply slow down.
 
When we moved here, we recognized living in a rural environment comes with many charms, such as living on gravel road and knowing your neighbors, and we built our house in this location with an appreciation and fondness for both.  We enjoy taking walks with our neighbors and biking on Shoemaker School Road.  Our quiet road often gives many of our neighbor’s peace of mind when allowing their children to safely walk their dogs, ride their horses, and bike to a friend’s house without worry of cars traveling too quickly.  Now, because of the limited traffic volume, we are able to recognize most of the cars that utilize our road as neighbors and friends and we enjoy this privilege as being a part of country living.  We love that we can sit on our back porch and listen to the frogs and crickets in the summer without being disturbed by zooming traffic.  While our car is often dirty and we have to slow down a bit on the gravel road, we understand this as being a wonderful gift because it invites us to slow down as well.  Paving Shoemaker School Road would erode our neighborhood’s country charm and the lifestyle that we chose when we moved here.  
 
We appreciate you taking into account our concerns, as well as the concerns of other families in opposition of paving Shoemaker School Road, as it seems that the effort to place Shoemaker School Road in the Rural Rustic Roads Program has thus far been secretive, and appallingly, many of the residents on Shoemaker School Road were not consulted before the recommendation was made.  Mr. Burton, we respectfully ask you to understand the desires of all your constituents before making a final decision on this recommendation.  Please do not let a zealous few destroy our safety and peaceful lifestyle for the sake of cleaner cars.
 
Sincerely,
Susan Strong and Noah Leiden
36496 Shoemaker School Road
Purcellville, VA 20132

____________________________________________________________________

19235 Swan Court
Purcellville, VA  20132
 
Mr. Jim Burton
1 Harrison Street, S.E.,
Fifth Floor
P.O. Box 7000
MSC #01
Leesburg, VA 20177-7000
 
Dear Mr. Burton -
 
Today we received a note from one of our neighbors that you had enrolled Shoemaker School Road in the Rural Rustic Roads Program. I am not sure if this is true, but if so, there could NOT be any more disappointing news as we go into 2008.
 
As one of several dozen families living off of this stretch of road, I am writing to ask that you withdraw that request and leave Shoemaker School Road as a gravel road. 
 
Our family moved to the area in 2000 and like many, have been disappointed at the development taking place all around us.  We have, however, always been able to console ourselves that the area in which we live attracts little in the way development.  We fear that paving this road, even under the Rural Rustic Roads Program, would open the door to more traffic, more development and a decreased quality of live.  So many of us in this neigborhood enjoy the road in its present state.  We take walks with our dogs, horseback ride and enjoy the countryside.  There are more people and animals than cars on that road.
 
I find it hard to understand how this proposal was put forward without the knowledge of all in the neigborhood.  Given that we know virtually every family on this stretch of road, I find it impossible to believe that the majority wish for this to occur. 
 
I beg of you to reconsider or at the very least, table your request until you've gathered complete data.  While you may have input from a zealous few, I am sure that most living on Shoemaker School Road have very limited knowledge of what you have proposed and what it entails. I am aware of a few individuals that believe the Rural Rustic Road Program would solve a transportation issue without jeapordizing the rural feel of the area,  but most of us know that nothing could be further from the truth.  Once paved, drivers will accelerate to speeds unacceptable in the neighborhood.  The Sheriff's department will have one more road to patrol to maintain an acceptable speed.  The road will also become an effective bypass for those wishing to reach Blue Ridge Middle School without traversing Purcellville.  Even the most enthusiastic supporter cannot wish for Shoemaker to turn into the "A Street" bypass off Rt. 690 that has occurred in Locust Grove.
 
We moved here with the full knowledge that our way home was served by a dirt road.  We like it that way.  No Lexus or Mercedes that will depreciate in a few short years is worth throwing away the history and the way of life that so many have come to love. 
 
When you read Eugene Scheel's work about the character of Loudoun, you realize there are so few places you can go in Loudoun to experience what he captures in his writing.  This road is one of those places.  Please, please, reconsider.
 
Thank you for your consideration,
 
Sincerely,
 
Steve Carter

_____________________________________________________________________

Dear Sir

I am a resident in the Shoemaker School Road vicinity.  I have been aware of the potential to put it into the Rural Rustic Roads Program and know that it was probably done because some people have asked for it to be and have made some compelling arguments.  Please take note of my plea to leave the road as is and not create a hazardous area for the neighborhood children, elderly, and quite frankly the rest of us.

As is the case for most country areas, there are no real places for people go for a jog, walk your dog, ride your bike with your kids, or just plain go for a leisurely stroll down a quiet country lane.  So those of us who live hear use our quiet country road to meet these needs.  As you know this area isn't as quiet as it use to be 10 years ago and those quiet country lanes have become a bit more hazardous with more cars speeding to and from work, the store, etc.  However, the gravel roads still provide the best means of keeping the speeders to a lesser speed and keeping those who would use our roads as a cut through to a minimum.  So our road can continue to provide a somewhat comfortable feel for parents to let their kids ride their bikes to a friends house or walk their dog.

Sir, if this road gets paved it will kill our little piece of the country.  Speeders will be able to drive over 50 mph, others will use our road as a cut through, and construction workers will cut turns and cause dangerous head on situations from excessive speed.  This will make it near impossible to go for a jog, walk your dog, ride your bike with your kids, or just plain go for a leisurely stroll down a quiet country lane. It will put children in danger as well as the drivers speeding along.  The road is narrow and winding and excessive speed will cause loss of control for many drivers resulting in hazardous situations.

I ask you for the kids and those who still know what it means to turn off the TV, throw away the video games, and go for a walk to not let Shoemaker School Road get paved.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Greg Sayadian and family.

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Dear Mr. Burton -
 
I live on Swan Court which is just off of Shoemaker School Road in the Silcott Springs area near Philomont. It has come to our attention that Shoemaker School Road has very recently been added to the Rural Rustic Roads Program despite being informed initially that (1.) the road was not included in the projected 6 year plan and (2.) that there were a number of required procedures that had to be met before addition to the program could be accomplished. Amazingly enough in less than one month's time after a few calls to VDOT merely for information regarding the program, our road is on the list and VDOT workers are out measuring the road for a cost analysis.
 
There are a number of residents here who greatly object to having the road paved whether it is with the Rural Rustic Roads Program or the county/state road paving program. My family and I are definitely amongst those who do not want the road paved.
 
Shoemaker School Road is the only road for 3 miles south of Purcellville that connects with Telegraph Springs Road. This invites construction traffic and large trucks as it is. If the road is paved it will only encourage more car traffic, larger trucks and greater speeds which the RRRP warns will happen. The road itself has a blind curve, several rises that obstruct forward vision and any number of blind driveway entrances. We have several working farms that border the road and most importantly, homes which border the road where quite a few small children live. The potential for a tragedy is overwhelming.
 
It is with respect that I request that you please reconsider adding our road to the program.
 
Mrs. Leslie C. Heilman