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Save America's Second Oldest Roadway

This petition had 1,199 supporters

New Market Road (aka Route 5) in Eastern Henrico County is America's second oldest roadway and a designated Scenic Byway. Widening this historic asset to a four-lane divided highway - as proposed by both Concept 1 and Concept 2 of the Route 5 Corridor Study - will cost taxpayers upward of $50 million, result in worse traffic, and threaten the jobs and revenue from Virginia's two largest industries:  agriculture and tourism.

 Therefore, I join Envision Henrico, Historic Richmond Foundation, Church Hill Association, Scenic Virginia, Fulton Foundation, Preservation Virginia, Varina Beautification Committee, Partnership for Smarter Growth, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Residents of Marion Hill, Residents of Osborne Turnpike, Virginia Bicycling Federation, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Shockoe Bottom business owners, members of: the Mayor’s Food Policy Task Force, Keep Henrico Beautiful, the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee of Henrico, and more who  oppose widening New Market Road to a four-lane divided highway.  Our reasons include the following:

 ·  Widening historic New Market Road will cost taxpayers >$50 million.[1]

 ·  Adding more lanes will result in worse traffic.[2]

 ·  Widening roads speeds the loss of farmland and with it, our agricultural industry.[3]

 ·  Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry - by far - supporting >500,000 jobs.[4]

 ·  Tourism is Virginia’s second largest industry, generating >$19 billion in annual revenue.[5]

 ·  New Market is the Nation’s second-oldest roadway, and a designated Virginia Scenic Byway.

 ·  The New Market Road Corridor was home to Pocahontas, John Smith, John Rolfe and the site of critical Revolutionary and Civil War battles…places that tourists will come to see.[6]

 ·  The entire region will profit from thoughtful, long-term development of this famous road.[7]



 [1] The Route 5 Study estimate $50-71 million for construction.  These are not final prices and do not include maintenance.

[2] First evidence published in 1942.  Countless studies since, including recent California study of 30 counties over two decades which found that every 10% increase in roadway capacity results in a 9% increase in traffic in 4 years.

[3] This is called Induced Demand.   Before farmland can be rezoned, developers have to prove that the roadways can handle the boost in traffic.  Having taxpayers fund those roads in advance checks that box for all future zoning requests.  Keeping roadways narrow is a powerful tool for protecting our agriculture and tourism industries.

[4] Va Department of Agriculture.  Farming/forestry generates more than $79 billion in annual revenue in Virginia.

[5] Va Tourism Corporation.  Tourism employs more than 200,000 Virginians.  Investing in our historic tourism assets will generate long-term employment opportunities; jobs that can’t be outsourced. 

[6] “It is most doubtful that a comparable area exists elsewhere in the Commonwealth, or indeed, in the nation.”  From the Proposed Design Guidelines and Strategies for the Protection and Enhancement of the Route 5 Byway Corridor and Adjacent Historic Resources, County of Henrico, 1994.  New Market Road was the second Scenic Byway designated by the commonwealth.

[7]Why would the region invest tens of millions toward creating a second Short Pump and all the traffic that will bring  when, for far less, we can earn far more by developing Varina as Richmond’s Tuscany/Napa Valley/Colonial Williamsburg?




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