School access plan to be researched

Published 10:50 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Southampton County School Board has authorized Supt. Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon to research an option that could improve safety at Riverdale Elementary School.

This action took place during the board’s meeting on Monday. Ricky Blount, director of transportation, made the formal presentation of choices for the school’s access and circulation study. He had given an informal talk on the matter last month, but Board Chairman Dr. Deborah Goodwyn asked that the matter be placed on the agenda for June.

The purpose of the study has been to examine the ingress and egress at Riverdale, especially as it concerns safe access from Camp Parkway (U.S. 58 Business.) Consideration is to be given where the planned commerce center next door is concerned.

First option: Relocating the entrance from Camp Parkway


  • It would eliminate queuing on the main road
  • Improves parking lot access, circulation
  • Separates inbound parking traffic from drop-offs


  • This is the most expensive plan, estimated at $1.57M
  • Removes the ability to repurpose the southeast section of the property to other recreational uses
  • The design could lead parents trying to bypass the drop-off lane by cutting through the parking lot

Another consideration is a westbound left turn lane at intersection No. 1 is needed and the turning radius improved. This also applies to the following possibility.

Second option: Installing a VDOT Turn Lane at


  • Bettering manages queuing along Camp Parkway
  • Improves distance for deceleration
  • Could potentially be funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation


  • Queues may still extend beyond what storage would be available (considering taper needs)
  • Only slightly improves sight distance for exiting vehicles
  • Doesn’t separate inbound parking traffic from drop-offs (utilizing the exit for inbound traffic will still be a problem.)

The estimated cost is $1.5M.

Third option: Flip bus and pick-up/drop-off access


  • Eliminates queuing on Camp Parkway
  • Could potentially be funded by VDOT
  • Maintains ability to repurpose southeast section of the property to other recreational uses


  • Current drop-off area not designed as a bus staging area
  • Adds time to all u-turns at intersection No. 1 to existing bus routes east of the school.
  • Parents may still try to drop off kids at front entrance using parking lot.

Another consideration is the increased delay for the southbound left at intersection No. 3 may dictate the need to implement a restricted crossing u-turn. Delay and safety should be monitored over time.

Not only is this the least expensive option, estimated at $785,000, but also the most feasible, according to Blount.