Friday, August 8, 2014

VDOT to reduce wait times at W&OD Trail/Gallows Rd intersection

This weekend VDOT plans to change the timing of the traffic signal that controls the W&OD Trail crossing of Gallows Road. Cyclists have complained for years about the long wait times at this signal. VDOT is responding to those complaints and will reduce the cycle by half, from 150 seconds (2.5 minutes) to 75 seconds (1.25 minutes). Trail users must press the pedestrian signal button to ensure the signal changes. Thanks VDOT!

See the note below from Randy Dittberner of VDOT about the effort:
VDOT studied this crossing recently to investigate possible improvements that could be implemented when the signal equipment at the crossing is replaced. One of the study’s suggestions was to improve the signal timing, which can cause long waits for trail users.

This suggestion does not require new signal equipment. As such, tomorrow (August 9), VDOT plans to try using a shorter signal cycle length during the midday on weekends. Previously the signal operated with a cycle length (time between successive WALK indications) of 150 seconds during the weekend midday period. Starting tomorrow the cycle length will be shortened to 75 seconds. The trail signal is the only one we are adjusting.  Other signals along the Gallows corridor will continue to operate with a 150-second cycle.

Not all trail users wait for the full cycle length to cross, because they arrive randomly during the course of the signal cycle.  Previously the average trail user wait time was 69 seconds, and with tomorrow’s change the average wait time will drop to 33 seconds.

We are starting implementation during the midday weekend period because trail use is heavy at this time and our review shows that traffic on Gallows will operate well (although perhaps not quite as well as before) with the shorter cycle length.  The midday weekend period is in effect from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.  to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.  In the hours before and after these times, the signal operates with a cycle length shorter than 150 seconds.

Our intention is to observe traffic and trail user conditions during the midday weekend before making a decision about whether to extend this same treatment to other times during the week.  Feel free to let us know if you hear feedback or comments about this change.  Also note that if we observe any unforeseen problems we may revert back to the original timing on short notice.

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