Manassas Journal Messenger | Lane Ranger – Reader takes ‘hazardous’ situation into own hands

Dear Lane Ranger: I am following up on a letter I wrote you last fall. I complained about a terrible entrance/exit situation in front of LaPetite Academy on U.S. 1 in Dumfries. You never got back to me, so I wrote my district Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, who took the matter up with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

In June, I became an accident victim of the very situation I had complained about.?A driver came speeding down a right turn-only lane to get around backed up traffic, did not turn, proceeded through the intersection and slammed me in the back end.?

My van was spun around and came to rest against the sidewalk, which is what saved me from tipping over. Thank goodness I was on my way in to pick up my children in the afternoon and they were not in the vehicle. The two-door car caused my van to sustain $5,000 worth of damage and be in the shop for over a month.

I would like you to know that VDOT found the situation to be hazardous and will be installing a left turn lane going northbound and will put flex cones in the right turn-only lane.?For the time being, the day care center is putting a neon yellow child figure holding a “slow” flag out by the road when traffic is backed up.?VDOT advises the project is on the list, however, they are behind due to spring rains, budget cuts and other safety matters needing addressed.

I just wanted to let you know that I was very disappointed that you did not seem to think my concern was priority enough to acknowledge, though you seem to routinely have responses to many topics regarding HOV matters and other such issues that do not involve important safety matters (involving child safety I might add) such as mine. — Amy Tubbs of Dumfries

Dear Amy: I’m sorry your letter did not get answered. Even now the Lane Ranger has letters in the queue that still need to be answered. I’m glad you got your answer, that is what county supervisors are for, and that is what the Lane Ranger is supposed to be for, too. You can bug the Lane Ranger as much as you want.

Dear Lane Ranger: My wife and I are both owner/operators for Manassas Cab Company. We are frequently required to transport blood to Prince William Hospital from Inova blood center at Woodburn Road, Fairfax, and the Red Cross center at Georgetown and the two in Baltimore.

We are not permitted to use the HOV lanes while doing so. We are the quickest and least expensive means to transport and deliver blood. People are frequently on an operating table awaiting our return — we have no way of knowing at the time.

This is inexcusable.

While we have your attention, any empty in-service cab that is on an interstate is of no use whatsoever to the people who depend on it and the dispatcher planning for its return. As a public service we should be able to use the HOV lanes simply so that we may be of use to our people. — Leland and Leandra Latham of Manassas

Dear Leland and Leandra: Most hospitals use standard courier services to transport blood between blood banks, but some like Prince William Hospital use cab companies, said Beth Visioli, spokeswoman for Inova Fairfax Hospital which handles blood transport for the area.

No one uses ambulances to transport blood, she said. And yes, you are right, sometimes the blood is urgently needed.

The Virginia General Assembly gave the allowance last year for taxicabs with a customer to use HOV lanes. Blood does not count as a passenger. The original language of the bill stated taxicabs without restriction but it got changed in committee to require the passenger.

I think you’re going to have to stand in line to get use of HOV because a lot of people have good reasons. Remember last week I said volunteer fire and rescue would like the same exception that law enforcement get so they can arrive at shifts on time. Maybe the courier services and the cab companies can tag-team to lobby Richmond for further exception.

While you have a good point that the public will benefit from you using HOV because that speeds your arrival to us, that also helps your business. What about the air-conditioning repair guy or the cable guy? Many of us spend more time waiting for them than anyone else.

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