Manassas Journal Messenger | Reader bemoans lights, inconsiderate drivers

Dear Lane Ranger,

I have several problems I wish to discuss.

1. The Virginia Department of Transportation needs to check the timing of the straight-through green light for traffic moving west (OK, WSW although a lot of people call it south) on Minnieville Road at Prince William Parkway, especially during afternoon rush hour.

Often it only seems to be about 10 seconds, and we are lucky if six cars get through.

The entire green cycle for Minnieville Road may be close to three minutes, but most of it is taken up by cars turning left from east-bound Minnieville to north-bound Prince William Parkway.

If you happen to be in line to go through that light, west-bound, and you are farther back than McDonald’s, you probably will have to wait two cycles.

During afternoon rush hour the traffic often gets backed up past Dak’s Grill, and even as far as Lowe’s (that makes it through two more traffic lights at least), and you may take four or five light cycles to get across Prince William Parkway.

2. Many drivers seemingly are not aware that right turn on red means STOP FIRST, then turn right only if no traffic is approaching!

I have had to slow down suddenly many times because a car turns right on red not very far in front of me, and is going much less than the speed limit by the time I catch up to it (which is often very soon after the car has turned). VDOT and the police need to do a better job of educating drivers about how this is supposed to work.

3. A number of intersections have two right-turn lanes with the one closer to the center of the road marked “No right turn on red from this lane” or some similar sign.

At three such intersections in particular I have often seen this violated: turning right on Prince William Parkway when exiting the commuter lot at Interstate 95, turning right onto Dale Boulevard west/northbound from Gideon Drive, and turning right onto Minnieville eastbound from Cardinal Drive.

4. This last intersection has another very frustrating type of behavior occurring.

Cars turning right onto Minnieville from Cardinal Drive when the light is red look to the left to see if traffic is coming on Minnieville Road and then turn right, often without even slowing down, much less stopping.

They seem to be unaware that traffic may be turning left from Estate Drive onto Minnieville, and that the Estate Drive traffic, if it has a green light, has the right-of-way.

I cannot count the number of times I have almost been hit by these cars turning right from Cardinal, or the number of dirty looks or worse that I have gotten from the drivers of such cars if I have insisted on continuing my turn onto Minnieville, or especially if I have blown my horn as a warning!

I would like to see a red arrow prohibiting right turns from Cardinal when Estate Drive has a green light.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

Bob Porter

Dear Bob: Whew, that’s a lot.

About the light timing. VDOT’s Ryan Hall said that as of last month, about a little more than half of the 128 traffic signals in Prince William County had been retimed. Expect more retiming in the next couple of months.

“We have two more phases where we’re going to finish timing the rest of the signals,” Hall said.

As far as turning right on red, isn’t that just about always on the driving test – something about coming to a full stop and proceeding with caution when turning right on red.

It should be common knowledge and you’d think that people would have enough common sense not to pull out in front of oncoming traffic, but it seems that many people get really stupid behind the wheel.

Ramming people who do that should be allowed. Too bad it’s against the law and would wreck your car and cause your insurance rates to go up.

Call the Prince William County police at (703) 792-6500 and tell them your concerns. Perhaps they can send someone to enforce the traffic laws.

But be aware that people will start doing wrong again once the police leave.

People are just that way when they’re safe and anonymous in their cars.

Take away the anonymity and you’d probably find a lot of dirty, little cowards.

Unfortunately the Lane Ranger can’t do much more than severely criticize the rotten milksops for being uncool.

Consider them roundly chastised here by the Lane Ranger.

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