Adjustments to Main Street Traffic Signals – The Town’s traffic engineering consultants have assisted staff in making adjustments to the Town’s traffic signals along Main Street. Clearance intervals were adjusted (yellow, red, and pedestrian crossing times) at Ellett, Marlington, Ardmore, Gables, Country Club, Airport, and Progress to meet the latest traffic engineering guidelines. Minimum and maximum green times were adjusted for through traffic on Main Street at Ellett, Marlington, Ardmore, Gables, and Country Club to allow for longer periods of green for through traffic, which should help to improve traffic flow along Main Street. The net result of our their work is that through traffic along Main Street will see longer green lights at the southern five traffic signals on Main Street. Because longer green times have been designated for Main Street traffic, the side streets will be red longer, resulting in slightly longer wait times for side street traffic. Once all of the new traffic signals along Main Street are installed, all signals will be able to operate as a coordinated system. The recent changes are designed to improve traffic flow until signals can be coordinated.

I am still hoping that these signals can be coordinated sooner rather than later.

A recent headline in a Virginia Municipal League publication reads “State poised to balance budget on backs of local governments.” While Counties and Cities will be hit the hardest because of the services they offer, Towns will also see an impact.

One example is funding for police. Localities across the state receive money from the Commonwealth to help pay for police protection. Blacksburg would see a $200,000 reduction in this funding under Tim Kaine’s proposed budget. We think this is a best case scenario. The budget that is finally agreed upon could cut this funding even more. This is just one example of the different areas the state is looking to save money to keep from making the hard decisions in Richmond.

Particularly hard hit is education. Sen. Mamie Locke from Hampton, argued on the Senate Floor that increasing class sizes and reducing education funding will imperil Virginia’s standing as “a great place to do business and to raise a child.”

Higher Education is not exempt from the knife. Virginia Tech continues to receive less from the state towards its mission of educating Virginia students. This year, the University will receive less than 20% of it funding from the state. The president of William and Mary has stated that the College has gone from being a state institution with some private funding to a privately funded institution with some state help.

Knowing this, Blacksburg is working very hard to find ways to spend wisely. We are in much better shape than many localities thanks to our local base, but we are not exempt from budget realities. We will continue to be prudent.

And, we cannot wrap up a week in review without talking about snow. All I can say is keep clearing that white stuff away and stay safe.

And, on a personal note – GEAUX SAINTS.