Established in 1740, the town of Leesburg, Virginia is one of great historic charm. Faced with growing safety and accessibility concerns, the town partnered with Clark Nexsen to replace the West Market Street sidewalk – a residential corridor located within the Historic District.

The design for West Market Street delivers an innovative solution that upholds the character of the block while improving pedestrian safety and preserving a historic retaining wall and mature trees.

Located between Morven Park Road and Ayr Street, West Market Street’s narrow 1,050 linear feet of sidewalk was outdated and dangerous to pedestrians. Stairs on the east end of the block prevented usage by anyone with limited mobility and steep drop-offs to the road surface made for a treacherous walk. Rather than lower the sidewalk to meet project safety objectives, the team proposed an alternative approach of raising the adjacent road surface, adjusting the vertical alignment of West Market Street and matching it closely to the existing sidewalk and retaining walls. This solution appealed to the town and community in large part because it eliminated any need to modify the historic retaining wall. Additionally, it presented the added benefit of improved roadway stopping sight distance and right-of-way.

Market Street sidewalk design by Clark Nexsen.

The West Market Street sidewalk captures efforts to preserve the historic retaining wall and install a wide, safe brick paver sidewalk that is consistent with the historic surroundings.

The new corridor features an ADA compliant brick paver sidewalk, concrete curb and gutter, and two stone-faced retaining walls. New storm drainage infrastructure was implemented to minimize impact to the surrounding properties. The project also included a new water line and coordination with franchise utility owners to relocate dry utilities to create more efficient utility connections.

APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Award, 2022