Lane Ranger for Monday, June 2, 2003

Dear Lane Ranger: Why does it take two or more months to activate new stop lights after they have been installed? I refer specifically to the intersections of Old Carolina Road and U.S. 15, the intersection of the off-ramp from Interstate 66 westbound to U.S. 15, and the intersection of Coverstone Drive and Ashley Avenue. — Vernon Miles

Dear Vernon: This is a common question. Just because the lights are up on the pole and bagged doesn’t mean a switch can turn them on. The rub is usually getting a power hookup and making sure the street is marked according to how the signal will control traffic.

KSI is putting up the Old Carolina Road light. As of a month ago, they needed to put an electrical conduit under U.S. 15.

The off-ramp from U.S. 15 is waiting on Dominion Virginia Power to hook it up, but with all the rain this has been delayed.

Just so you know, there is another light under design for the eastbound off-ramp off I-66 to U.S. 15, to be built by a developer.

I got a status list for traffic signals being done by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Lights, lights everywhere! And you thought there were only lights going up on Prince William Parkway. I’m really happy about some of these. The others I’m sure there are people who have stories.

Dear Lane Ranger: Common sense would seem to dictate that a traffic light from small community to a main road would be controlled by a sensor and only change to red for the main road when a car is entering or exiting the community.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case with the traffic signal at the road to the community of Brittany and Va. 234.

Several times as I have come home from work late at night, I have had to stop at a red light on 234 when no one is entering or exiting the community of Brittany.

Can this situation be remedied? — Joan Keller

Dear Joan: The Lane Ranger went to Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Bruce Williams for an answer and he wrote:

We checked the signal operation at the subject intersection. The unnecessary delay for the motorist was caused by a detector malfunction.

It has been fixed. The signal is operating properly now.

Dear Lane Ranger: Ask VDOT why the light leaving Allen Dent to get on U.S. 1 stays red so long when no traffic comes.

It’s obviously not in sync.

I once sat there more than 5 minutes just to see how long it would take to change. It’s nothing to sit 3 minutes on a given day.

Seems a tad too long especially when no traffic is coming, at least not much at 5:00 a.m.

Can it be looked into? — Robert Bradshaw

Dear Robert: Bruce Williams, VDOT spokesman, looked into the problem. He wrote:

Just wanted to let you know that a detector problem was located at the subject intersection, which would have caused the ‘5 minute’ wait that Mr. Bradshaw described. The detector has been fixed and signal timing appears to be operating normally.

Traffic light changes


–?Linton Hall Road/Devlin Road — under construction

–?Sudley Road/Interstate 66 eastbound off-ramp — under design

–?Coverstone Drive/Ashton Avenue — under construction

–?U.S. 1/Possum Point Road — under construction

–?Dale Boulevard/Benita Fitzgerald Drive — construction complete

–?Sudley Road/Irongate Way — under design

–?Old Bridge Road/Troupe Street — under design

–?Waterway Drive/Country Club Drive — under study

–?Prince William Parkway/Hoffman Drive — under design

–?U.S. 1/Delaware Drive — under design

–?Minnieville Road/Hedgewood Drive — under design

–?Opitz Boulevard/Potomac Library — under design

–?Prince William Parkway/Kenwood Drive — study found not warranted

–?Hoadly Road/Spriggs Road — under study

–?Hillendale Drive/Hendricks Drive — under study

–?Washington Street/Jefferson Street — under study

–?Graham Park Road/Old Triangle Road — under study

–?Fuller Heights Road/Old Triangle Road — under study

–?Wellington Road/Lexington Valley Drive — under study


–?Old Bridge Road/Oakwood Drive. Change left turn to green arrow only onto Old Bridge for both directions. Completed.

–?Opitz Boulevard/Potomac Hospital. Add left turn signal for school entrance. Design complete.

–?Prince William Parkway/Telegraph Road. Under study to establish split phasing or each direction gets a separate green.

–?Old Bridge Road/Cricket Lane. Completed study found no action warranted.

–?Minnieville Road/Noblewood Plaza. Completed study found no action warranted.

–?Prince William Parkway/Balls Ford Road. Left turns get green separately due to inadequate turning radius for trucks. Design complete.

–?Dale Boulevard/ Darbydale /Forestdale. Under study to change left turn to green arrow only for both directions.

–?Minnieville Road/Smoketown Road. Study completed to change left turn to green arrow only for both directions.

–?Ashton Avenue/Sudley Manor Drive. Change left turns to green arrow only for all directions. Design complete.

–?U.S. 1/Neabsco Road/Cardinal Drive. Change left turns on U.S. 1 to green arrow only for both directions.

Pedestrian signal:

–?Prince William Parkway/ Smoketown Road — design complete

No place to sit or stay dry

I drove past a woman standing in the rain waiting for a bus at McCoart Administration Center last week.

A bus shelter costs $6,450. That’s $3,000 for the shelter and bench, $3,000 for the foundation, and $450 for a trash can and maps/schedules.

I don’t understand why it is so hard for our county government to provide an easy amenity for those who ride our brand new buses.

Yes, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, to which our 2 percent gas tax goes, handles bus shelters, but this is not their issue at McCoart. PRTC only has the resources to put bus shelters at the busiest stops.

McCoart does not have heavy ridership.

But it is at the heart of our county government, one that calls for everyone to get away from their cars, yet here at the footsteps to our halls of power, it’s almost as if we’re saying: “Hey you want to ride the bus? Well, you’re going to have to rough it. Bring an umbrella and change of pants for the rain. Bring sunscreen and a hat for the sun.”

I drive around the county and see middle-aged adults sitting on the ground when they wait for a bus.

We have the money for bus shelters! There is a $9 million county budget surplus and we’re going to give $25,000 to Vpstart Crow.

If only bus riders had a union like the police, who are getting a $250,000 pilot program for enhanced retirement benefits out of the surplus.

You can buy about 40 bus shelters for $250,000, and I know we don’t need that many.

I love the arts, but The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is not an arts foundation. I do not take the police for granted, but they’re getting pay raises, fancy new radios, new cars, lots of overtime, and a retirement package that competes with Arlington, an urban area.

What should be our priority?

The citizens survey found only 57.6 percent of respondents were satisfied with their ease of travel in the county in fiscal year 2002, up from 55.1 percent in 2001.

So nearly half of us are not.

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 to: [email protected]; or by phone: (703) 878-8062.