Development spawns traffic solutions

Dear Lane Ranger: I have been meaning to write and finally got around to it. I travel a lot, so some of these may have already been answered. I also checked the Virginia Department of Transportation project Web site and saw none of these projects listed.

l What is the status of the Horner Road extension that was supposed to connect to U.S. 1? (I think I saw the answer to this a couple days ago.)

l What is the status of the Rippon Boulevard extension that was supposed to go to the Rippon Virginia Railway Express train station? I saw some recent work in the area, but if the project to extend Rippon is dead, can VDOT do anything to facilitate traffic flow out of Farm Creek Road in the afternoon when the train drops people off — like maybe cut a side road to Persistence Drive to allow a second outlet? I recently did business with one of the body shops along that road and found out the problem is not just for train commuters but also the businesses along the road. It takes 30 minutes to get from Alexandria to Rippon by train but it has taken me 35-40 minutes to get from Rippon to western Dale City (doing the speed limit!). A large part of that time is getting from Rippon onto U.S. 1. Doesn’t sound like a good incentive for mass transit. The problem has lessened a little since Sept. 11.

l How will traffic be affected at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Minnieville Road when the new supermarket/strip mall goes in? Traffic has increased tremendously over the past year. I hope VDOT isn’t putting up another traffic light.

l Are the lights on the Prince William County Parkway at the Minnieville Road intersection timed right? In the weekday evenings and on weekends, the lights seem to be short-timing headed for Potomac Mills. Sometimes it takes three light cycles to get through.

That’s all my gripes for now. Thanks — Billy Fortner of Woodbridge

Dear Billy: Your last question I have VDOT looking into for an answer. I’ll have more information on that and the Rippon extension next week. VDOT officials have been in and out with the holidays — the one I want was in Miami.

On your first, the Horner Road extension, I believe you’re referring to the extension of the Prince William County Parkway. I did answer this in my Dec. 24 column and you can view that at on our Web site by clicking on the Local button on the left side and viewing past stories. Its 21-month construction process is set to begin in January 2003.

You have a good question on the Rippon Boulevard extension to the VRE station. Building it depends on that area’s developers building it as they put up houses. Supervisor Ruth T. Griggs, R-Occoquan, said the county may expedite the project by building it and then collecting money from the developer later.

There is a traffic signal that will be installed on Minnieville Road at the shopping center before it opens, said VDOT engineer Steve Stephens.

A second light will also be installed at Bluefin Drive and Minnieville Road, he said.

Prince William and VDOT officials worked closely with the developer and had it run multiple traffic simulations to make sure the lights do not adversely affect traffic.

Accidents would affect traffic more than these synchronized signals.

Bypass progress

I heard the local folks in charge met Friday to discuss Va. 234 southbound and how it should be designated. I’ll pass along their recommendations when I get them.

Other name problems

And if anyone has any more confusing-name questions when it comes to navigating Prince William, please send them in. I have one: When I say I’m walking out the door to visit the Gateway business park, do you know where I’m going? Manassas City has a Gateway business park, Prince William has a Gateway center near Interstate 66, and there’s also a Virginia Gateway business park in Gainesville. What’s with three?

Possible sales paves way for Old town parking

If you missed Trina Goethals’ story Sunday about Frank Parrish retiring from his Manassas Frozen Foods business, where he’s been an Old Town fixture since 1946, here’s the latest: The city has a verbal agreement with the Parrishes that they are willing to sell the site, said Manassas Public Works Director Mike Moon.

Parrish’s business and the adjacent Manassas Mini-Storage are the No. 1 site for a downtown parking garage. Moon said that he will brief City Council within 30 days. The stumbling block: The owner of the storage facility is asking for too much money.

That’s all that stands between us and relief to the downtown parking problem. Let us hope the lawyers can resolve this quickly, so those ice skaters can have some place to park soon.

VRE calendars

If you didn’t ride the Virginia Railway Express on Thursday when they passed out new 2002 calendars, you can have one mailed to you if you send your address to [email protected]

Lane Ranger welcomes and encourages your correspondence. Please send any questions or comments on area transportation to: Lane Ranger, c/o Potomac News, P.O. Box 2470, Woodbridge 22195; fax: (703) 878-8099; e-mail to [email protected] com; or by phone: (703) 878-8062.

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