The Road with Six Names

There’s a road known as Church Road where it starts in Fairfax County. After crossing Rt. 28 in Loudoun County, it changes names to Waxpool Road. The byway transmutes into Farmwell Road, and then Ashburn Farm Parkway and then Sycolin Road. Upon reaching Leesburg, it morphs into Plaza Street.

This is insane. How the blue blazes is anyone in the region supposed to find their way around? If this were the only road in Virginia with multiple names, I might give it a rest. But it’s not. We’ve got ’em all over the place, and they’re a plague upon anyone not intimately familiar with local geography. As navigationally challenged as I am, I have been befuddled more than once by these ridiculous name-swappers.

Loudoun Supervisor Stephen J. Snow, R-Dulles, wants to stop the madness. According to Leesburg Today, he has asked for the Board of Supervisors to study simplifying some of the road names in and around Ashburn, Sterling and Dulles. Good. Maybe other localities will follow Loudoun’s lead!

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8 responses to “The Road with Six Names”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    You know what this is about?

    It’s really simple.

    It’s about not coordinating beyond the jurisdictional boundaries.

    The Name problem a symptom of a bigger problem .. planning – land-use and transportation.

    ’nuff said…

  2. Brian L. Avatar
    Brian L.

    Roads with changing names are nothing new here in the Commonwealth – where roads were historically named for what they were used for (Ox Rd, Rolling Rd) or where they go (Pohick Rd, Accotink Rd, Dale Blvd).

    Personally, I think it’s a quaint feature of our area that serves as an amusing (and daily) reminder of our history. If you need to know where to go, remembering a street number isn’t a bad alternate. After all, how hard is it to remember “Take Route 123 south,” anyway?

    No sense in setting up another ridiculous Commission to solve a problem which doesn’t exist, is there.


  3. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Brian has a point.

    It might help build local idenity is every Alpha Community was given the power to name the streets and roadways in its territory but not those maintained by regional or state agencies.

    When we were in the street naming business we found that power could help overcome Geographic illiteracy.

    Remeber the goal is Balanced Communities not easy of going from A to B.

    Some of the confusion comes from the “You pay for it, you can name it” fallout of of private construction of public facilities.

    It is not coordination at jurisdiction borders, it is coordination at project boundaries.

    When you create a new development and there is no detailed public comprehensive plan, then the designer lays out the access and ties both ends of every roadway to existing roadways (Waxpool and Sycolin).

    In that case Wawpool diverges and lots of folks follow the name.

    It is not as simple as numbering all the roadways. It requires a comprehensive strategy to create functional human settlement patterns.

    We knew that when Snow was involved there would be a snow job somewhere.


  4. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Upon further review:

    What a great first step to create five Balanced Communities in eastern part of Loudoun and the western part of Fairfax.

    Greater Leesburg, Greater Ashburn Farm / Ashburn Village / Broadlands, Greater Potomac / Cascades / Sterling, Greater Reston / Herndon and greater Chantilly / South Riding / Dulles South could be given the naming powers for streets and roadways.

    They could also be given the power to create new names for the Communities. All except Leesburg, most folks know where that is, just not where it starts and stops.

    Just a thought.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Which is worse, a road with six names or some of the subdivisions in the Richmond area where the intersection of Queen Anne Ct. and Queen Anne Dr. is just past Queen Anne Ave and Queen Anne Cir.? I can’t imagine the headache this causes for a pizza delivery man.

  6. Groveton Avatar

    Multiple names for roads is a feature, not a flaw. It is an intrinsic part of our regonal national defense plan. When the Canadian Army invades and marches from Newfoundland sraight through to Northern Virginia they will be stymied. First, they will never find their way through Northern Virginia because we brilliantly use many, many different names for the same road. Then, their tanks will get stuck in traffic until the soldiers starve while trying to go West on Rt 7 (or Leesburg Pike, or Main St or King (or is it Duke)? St – depending on where they are. Finally, their English will do them no good in interrogations since all of the people who live here are Spanish speaking illegal immigrants.

    Sometimes you guys from Henrico fail to see the brilliance in all of our plans.

  7. Tobias Jodter Avatar
    Tobias Jodter

    I drive the road in question and many others like it in NOVA with switching names. This is much ado about nothing imo. Surely there is something more important to worry about?

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Yeah, there is a point to just leaving everything alone.

    However, NOVA is a very transient area with more people moving in all the time. A lot of people I know avoid Ashburn just because of the confusing road names (personally, I recently discovered that Ryan Rd. becomes Loudoun County Pkwy, something that could have saved me a lot of time in the past).

    Snow has probably heard the same kind of thing from a lot of people. It is a small thing, but would make a lot of lives easier…
    if they can avoid using too much money to do it.

    BTW, I did deliver pizza in LC for a while in college. That is one of the best ways to learn your way around an area 😀

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