Dear Lane Ranger: In your April 25, 2005, Lane Ranger column in the Potomac News, we discussed that the Occoquan District Supervisor, Corey Stewart, planned to formally resolve a request for VDOT to use the old Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Commission Bus Maintenance Facility to expand the Horner Road commuter parking facility.
The Board of County Supervisors passed the resolution on May 5 and sent it to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Initially, VDOT did not support our need, citing a September 2000 Federal Highway Administration letter.
VDOT said we should convince the Federal Highway Administration to reconsider its position and authorize the department to build the lot, “if the demand for additional parking spaces remains high.”
I know the county sent a letter to the administration regarding this issue.
However, much like the 8 a.m. vacant spaces in the Horner Road commuter lot, I haven’t seen the reply from the administration. So, I ask you, what is going on with this?
Who’s holding up progress?
Dear Robert: The Lane Ranger got in touch with Supervisor Corey A. Stewart, R-Occoquan, to find out what had things all snagged up.
Stewart said the administration is working on a fix.
“Federal Highway has agreed that the parking spaces are needed and they finalizing a letter now to sign off on the project,” Stewart said.
The letter is the last hurdle.
“That should be the last impediment to getting this through, aside from obtaining funding from the General Assembly,” Stewart said.
The General Assembly didn’t have the letter during its last session so it couldn’t vote to send the money to VDOT for the parking lot, Stewart said.
“That will be there this time around and we hope to get funded,” Stewart said of the administration letter.
Dear Lane Ranger: I’d like to endorse Bob Hugman’s letter regarding misleading restaurant signs on Virginia interstate highways, and I encourage you to take more aggressive action.
My experience mirrors Bob’s and apparently yours: in Virginia, the restaurant highway signs are misleading, aggravating, and essentially a scam.
I have often been frustrated by learning on the exit ramp – a few feet too far down to change my mind – that the advertised establishment is miles away. I now sometimes attempt to make it to another state before stopping to eat to avoid falling victim.
The solution seems simple: Take the same distance information that is on the signs on the exit ramps and add it to the signs in advance of the exit. To save money, don’t replace all existing signs just for this purpose, but make the change as the signs are replaced. Future generations will benefit.
My challenge to you is to champion such action to VDOT. Don’t roll over for them. You speak for a multitude.
Dear David: You sir, speak for the multitudes as aptly as the Lane Ranger could, but consider the Lane Ranger on board with your suggestion.
You are correct in your assumption that it will be future generations that will benefit from the change if it ever happens.
In past research, the Lane Ranger learned that the materials the state sign shops use for signs are guaranteed for 10 years. Most of the signs are replaced every 12 years if they last that long.
Damage from paint balls, thrown rocks, road chemicals and the occasional bullet are the main reasons signs need early replacement.
Perhaps there is a member of the Virginia Assembly who would be willing to sponsor a bill to make the change you suggest.
They’re busy with other transportation issues this week, but the Lane Ranger will be in touch with them soon.
Maybe others who share in the frustration could write to the Lane Ranger.
Dear Lane Ranger: I’ve noticed since Benita Fitzgerald Brown Drive opened up connecting Dale Boulevard and Cardinal Drive that Dale Boulevard backs up in the evening.
One recent afternoon around 5:45, the left turn lane from Dale Boulevard onto Benita Fitzgerald Brown was backed up from the two left turn lanes past Birchdale Avenue almost all the way to Ashdale Avenue.
There were several drivers that tried to avoid waiting in the long left lane and actually made left turns onto Benita Fitzgerald Brown Drive from non-turn lanes.
When Interstate 95 south is backed up, I see this route being used even more than Minnieville Road to Cardinal Drive.
Is anything being done to explore the possibility of expanding the left turn lanes onto Benita Fitzgerald Brown?
Dear Greg: The county had several complaints about that signal and were working on the problem before the Lane Ranger forwarded your e-mail.
As you have probably noticed, the timing for the left turn signal from Dale Boulevard to Benita Fitzgerald Brown Drive has been lengthened by 20 seconds for the evening rush hour.
Hope that helps.
Readers: No doubt morning commuters on Interstate 66 noticed the lengthy delays where Va. 234 business merges onto the highway last week.
VDOT’s Ryan Hall said the problem with the restricted merge lanes should be fixed this week.
VDOT engineers went out over the weekend to try and figure out how minimize the disruption.
Hall confirmed that it took commuters who got caught at the intersection 45 minutes to travel a mile Friday morning.
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; e-mail: l [email protected]; or by phone: (703) 878-8063.