Dear Lane Ranger: I am writing to inform you about a traffic light in our area that isn’t synchronized very well at all. It is located at the intersection of Minnieville Road and Hedgewood Drive in Woodbridge. I work at Long and Foster Realtors on Hedgewood Drive and there is an over 55 community located there, a day care center and two large buildings that are currently being built. Right now Hedgewood Drive is the only way in and out. The light facing Minnieville Road stays green for a very long time, coming out of Hedgewood Drive takes about four minutes waiting on the light to change from red to green. The left turning lane from Minnieville to Hedgewood is not as long a wait. Once the new buildings are occupied along with the 150 employees we have at Long and Foster, the residents at the over 55 community plus the day care center try and exit this area, it is going to be a nightmare! We would really like to see this problem fixed!
We’ve already tried to contact VDOT, but they have done nothing! We contacted them almost a year ago about the problem. Maybe you can assist in this problem — we just need the lights to be synchronized better for all traffic at that intersection. Thanks for your assistance.
Viicky Silor, Realtor
Dear Viicky: The Lane Ranger contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation and the agency’s area chief engineer pulled data from the intersection and there are no visible problems with the coordination, said Ryan Hall, VDOT spokesman. The cycle length (the time from when the light first turns red until it turns green) ranges from two to three minutes, 120 to 180 seconds, depending on time of day.
An anonymous reader writes: Friday, October 13th, I commuted on the newly paved Braddock Road. Two lanes of Braddock Road are now paved from the Fairfax County line to Gum Springs Road. It appears the ultimate design for Braddock Road is four lanes, although only two lanes (one lane in each direction) are open at this time. This is helpful during the evening commute because a small number of commuters use this road.
Metro fights the flu
Metro officials, alongside local public health department volunteers, will be distributing free bottles of waterless hand sanitizer to Metrorail and Metrobus riders next week to raise awareness of easy ways to reduce the chances of passing germs as the fall flu season begins. Health officials say that every year in the United States sees an average of 5 to 20 percent of the population getting the seasonal flu.
Metro is partnering with the local public health agencies of Fairfax, Arlington, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, the City of Alexandria and the District of Columbia to distribute health information at booths set up at Metrorail stations in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Metro officials and public health representatives will provide information and free hand sanitizer to the first 1,000 riders at each station where the information booths are located.
Health information booths and the hand-outs are scheduled for 3:30 to 6 p.m. as follows:
Today at the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU, Rosslyn and Huntington Metrorail stations
Wednesday at Federal Triangle, Fort Totten and the Smithsonian Metrorail stations
Friday at Branch Avenue, Silver Spring and the New Carrollton Metrorail stations.
In addition, 2,000 free bottles of hand sanitizer, compliments of W.W. Grainger’s Lanham, Md., office, will be distributed by bus operators serving the stations.
Fred Goodine, Metro’s Assistant General Manager for System Safety and Risk Protection, said that he hopes Metro’s participation to raise public awareness of “staying germ-free to help reduce flu and other diseases, works as I know that similar programs have reduced absenteeism up to 20 percent in other concentrated awareness efforts.”
For more information on reducing the risk of catching the flu, visit cdc.gov/flu.
OmniRide stop shut down
OmniRide released the following notice last week:
“Effective immediately and until further notice, the PM OmniRide stop at 18th & Pennsylvania WILL NOT BE SERVED, due to construction on the sidewalk in the vicinity of the stop. To accommodate passengers who normally use that stop, buses will serve a temporary stop at 18th & G instead. There is also a regular OmniRide stop nearby at 18th & F. Please note that the temporary stop may be in effect through the end of the year.”
Be aware of deer
Watch out for deer. Fairfax County police released the following tips on how to avoid collisions with deer this fall.
Be alert for deer; drive cautiously — especially if you see a deer crossing sign. Be especially attentive at dusk and dawn during deer breeding season from mid-October to January. (Peak deer movement in the fall coincides with the time change back to standard time. This shifts rush hour into darkness hindering a driver’s ability to see deer.)
When you spot a deer near the roadway, slow down and be ready for the animal to dart into the road. Honk your horn to try to scare the deer away. Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near the roadway, be cautious for others.
When you see a deer on a roadway, flash your headlights from bright to dim and honk the horn to encourage it to move away from the road. Drive with lights on during overcast days and use high beams at night whenever possible. (Though headlights can confuse deer, the reflecting light from their eyes will help you see them.) Warn drivers following you of the presence of deer by tapping on your brakes.
If a deer runs into the roadway, try to slow down or brake without swerving. Losing control of your car and crashing into another car or a stationary object can be more dangerous than hitting the deer.
If you cannot avoid hitting a deer, slow down and grasp the steering wheel firmly with both hands. Take your foot off the brake at the time of impact so the front end of your vehicle will lift up and enable the deer to go under the car, rather than over it (reducing the danger of it crashing through the windshield or windows). If the animal is injured or killed, report the collision through the non-emergency line at (703) 691-2131 in Fairfax County or (703) 792-6500 in Prince William County.
Always wear your seat belt to reduce the possibility of injury in case of a collision.
In 2005 there were 151 reportable crashes between vehicles and deer in Fairfax County with 13 resulting in injuries to people including one fatality. However, the actual number of collisions is likely between 3,000 and 5,000. If motorists remain alert and slow down to allow more reaction time, it is possible that some of these crashes could be avoided or result in less damage.