Foundations along Washington Street or Route 50 in Middleburg, Virginia date back to 1740. Billed as “The Nation’s Horse and Hunt Capital,” it offers landmarks such as the Red Fox Inn—the first inn in America—which was an overnight stop between the port of Alexandria and Winchester.
Washington Street is lined with original era buildings, most with a rich Civil War history and more than 160 on the National Register of Historic Places. They now house local shops and businesses and attract visitors to nearby wineries, the National Sporting Museum, equestrian events, and an international film festival.
To commuters—almost 10,000 vehicles a day—this main avenue splitting the scenic countryside is John Mosby Highway (Route 50), one of Virginia’s primary corridors reaching east toward the nation’s capital.
In fall 2016, VDOT completed a $4.8 million traffic-calming project along a half-mile of Washington Street, including seven intersections in the town. Elements such as bump-outs, granite curbs, brick crosswalks, and careful landscaping now help drivers slow from 50 to 25 mph and improve access to businesses for all users. Intersections were designed for the town’s unique yet frequent users – wide-turning horse trailers.
VDOT and the town coordinated a much-needed 2,000-foot stretch of water main, brick paver sidewalks, new dark-sky lighting, and other vital infrastructure improvements. Through construction, all worked closely with local businesses and residents to minimize impacts.
This is the final of four traffic-calming projects through historic towns along a 25-mile stretch of Route 50, and all are the product of a long-standing local working group that is a true model of government and community partnership.
Safely moving vehicles and tourists, shoppers and residents on foot—while preserving an active street life, economy and rich history—this project’s results are a safer community, significantly-improved infrastructure, thoughtful details and long-term benefits for many small businesses.