Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Traffic Circle.

Few times in history has VDOT ever improved traffic flow. Our infrastructure is too old for the volume of cars (we all know this, anyone who doesn't needs to move away from the boonies). There are so many "bad intersections" that I hate to run across in my travels in my car, and most of the time, i tend to avoid these intersections. We all have our preferred routes to take when going places, and mine tend to follow the mantra of "avoid shitty left turns." You know the turns i'm talking about. Where the planets have to align for you to be able to cross the street without saying "hold on" to your passengers.

But in recent times, I have noticed a few changes to the traffic patterns that have vastly improved some of these "bad intersections." Most notably is the traffic circle that VT installed on the intersection of West Campus Drive and Washington Street. Before this traffic circle was installed, it was impossible to turn left onto Washington Street between 9am and 7pm. Before this, buses would be stuck at this intersection so often, that they hired a traffic cop for rush hour. Well, not anymore. You can read about it and see a picture here.

Another surprising change in the traffic patterns in Blacksburg is the removal of the street light from the corner of Washington Street and Draper (this is farther down on Washington street off campus). Most of the time, waiting for this light was pointless because there was never any cross traffic. The 4 way stop that is in its place is much more efficient in keeping traffic moving and i assume it has reduced the number of accidents at the intersection.

Finally, in something that i can only call sheer genius, to get to Blacksburg, I drive about an hour down 66, hang a left onto 81, and 3 hours later i exit. Normally when I exit, it's 55mph on 460 to get to campus. But in the past month, the gods above have smiled down upon us and raised the limit to 65. That's right ladies and gentlemen... they actually RAISED the speed limit on a road. This is the same road that one of my friends got a ticket for going 75 down the hill when the limit was 55 (even after i WARNED him not to speed on 460). What amazes me is that people still drive 55 on this road. Even when the speed limit was 55, people NEVER drove 55, they all sped. Now that it's 65, i find more people actually driving 55, than anything. Appartently I was the only one that got the memo.

5 comments:

Neva said...

Normally, I am not a big fan of the "circle" but I have to tell you, if people do it correctly, it saves on just about everything...gas, time, accidents...but if they mess it up.....not such a pretty picture.

Jessy said...

I can't believe you're still obsessed with the traffic light removal from downtown. Can we have a follow up post on worst traffic spots ever?

Tom said...

They're doing some major traffic circles in Loudoun County where we live...I think they ahve 4 or 5 planned on major roads, rt 50 and 15 near Leesburg will be the closest to us, and I'm interested to see how it goes. According to their reasoning, traffic circles are safer due to the reduced chance that people will meet in head-on collisions, and it should also reduce direct side collisions. Makes sense to me, I'm just wondering if the mass population of Virginia is smart enough to negotiate these things. Sometimes, I'm not so sure...

Patrick said...

1 ticket in my lifetime and it had to be reckless driving from blacksburg.

in my defense, I was trying to give Steve directions because he missed one of the three important steps in getting to VT at the time.

MotherOf3Guys said...

I'm not sure I will like those circle thingys but will keep an open mind.