Loudoun Co. hopes US Route 50 speed signs, fines will put brakes on barreling through Aldie

aldie sign
A new speed study shows most drivers are blowing through Aldie, at least 13 miles over the speed limit. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

U.S. Route 50, stretching from Sacramento, California, to Ocean City, Maryland, has a lot of different looks and feels, including highway speed limits.

Route 50 through the tiny, historic village of Aldie in Loudoun County, Virginia, is 1 mile of two-lane traffic, with a 25 mph speed limit, through buildings dating back to the early 1800s. Cobblestone crosswalks, picturesque medians and narrowed lanes are intended to gently slow drivers down.

Yet, a new speed study shows most drivers are blowing through Aldie, at least 13 miles over the speed limit.

On Tuesday, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is expected to move forward with paying for four pole-mounted speed display signs and installing signs that warn of an additional $200 fine.

In October 2020, during a 48-hour period, the average 85th percentile speed was 38 miles per hour, which is 13 mph above the posted limit in the village.

In the 1-mile stretch of Route 50, from Snickersville Pike to the west, almost to New Mountain Road on the east, drivers pass historic churches, a mill, several small businesses and a sewing school.

In 2012, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed several traffic calming measures, including a speed table and curb extensions. Yet, the Aldie Heritage Association and others in the Blue Ridge Election District complained about speeding within the village and requested help from the county.

The pole-mounted speed display signs — or PMSD — provide a real-time display of the driver’s current speed. When a driver is speeding, the sign flashes the vehicle’s speed to alert him he’s traveling over the speed limit.

In addition, the Code of Virginia provides additional fines up to $200 for exceeding the speed limit in residential communities.

The new PMSD and fine signs are expected to cost $115,000, which will be paid for as a county capital project.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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