Manassas Journal Messenger | Lane Ranger for Monday, July 21, 2003

Dear Lane Ranger: For the past couple of weeks I have noticed that the light at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Antietam/Woodbridge Senior High will turn green for traffic coming out of the high school even when there are no cars waiting and no cars have recently turned right on red. This delays the light for the traffic on Antietam turning onto Old Bridge and the Old Bridge traffic as everyone has to wait for the light to cycle. Can you do anything to have the light cycle corrected? I always thought the light was operated by a sensor. — Barbara Carnahan of Lake Ridge

Dear Barbara: As you saw a Virginia Department of Transportation crew was out the day after you wrote the Lane Ranger and found a damaged sensor.

This intersection operates on a loop detector system. The damaged sensor was causing the signal at Antietam Road to turn green. It was replaced.

HOV uproar over enforcement

Over the past several weeks the Lane Ranger columns have been awash in controversy.

Some readers have been concerned about rules concerning law enforcement vehicle in the HOV lanes.

Apparently there was a discrepancy between the rules, as stated on the DMV Web site, and the Virginia code.

According to the Virginia Code, law enforcement vehicles are allowed to travel in the HOV lanes at anytime for any or no reason whatsoever.

The following is the pertinent code. Read it and weep.

Section 33.1-46.2. Designation of high-occupancy vehicle lanes; use of such lanes; penalties.

A. In order to facilitate the rapid and orderly movement of traffic to and from urban areas during peak traffic periods, the Commonwealth Transportation Board may designate one or more lanes of any highway in the interstate, primary, or secondary highway systems as high-occupancy vehicle lanes, hereinafter referred to in this section as HOV lanes. When lanes have been so designated and have been appropriately marked with such signs or other markers as the Board may prescribe, they shall be reserved during periods designated by the Board for the exclusive use of buses and high-occupancy vehicles. Any local governing body may also, with respect to highways under its exclusive jurisdiction, designate HOV lanes and impose and enforce restrictions on the use of such HOV lanes. Any highway for which the local jurisdiction receives highway maintenance funds pursuant to ? 33.1-41.1 shall be deemed to be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the local governing body for the purposes of this section. HOV lanes shall be reserved for high-occupancy vehicles of a specified number of occupants as determined by the Board or, for HOV lanes designated by a local governing body, by that local governing body. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, no designation of any lane or lanes of any highway as HOV lanes shall apply to the use of any such lanes by:

1. Emergency vehicles such as fire-fighting vehicles, ambulances, and rescue squad vehicles,

2. Law-enforcement vehicles,

3. Motorcycles,

4. a. Transit and commuter buses designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver,

b. Commuter buses and motor coaches operating under irregular route passenger certificates issued under ? 46.2-2010 and any vehicle operating under a certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or as a common carrier of passengers under ? 46.2-2075 or ? 46.2-2080,

5. Vehicles of public utility companies operating in response to an emergency call,

6. Until July 1, 2006, vehicles bearing clean special fuel vehicle license plates issued pursuant to ? 46.2-749.3, or

7. Taxicabs having two or more occupants, including the driver.

Notice, that there are no qualifications attached to emergency and law enforcement vehicles.

VDOT is in the process of changing the information on its Web site to agree with the Virginia code.

Maybe we can all put this little spitting contest behind us now.

Please send questions or comments on transportation to: Lane Ranger, c/o Potomac News, P.O. Box 2470, Woodbridge, VA 22195; fax: (703) 878-8099; email to: [email protected]; or by phone: (703) 878-8062.

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