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Traffic Committee Meeting

Memorandum                                                                                Blacksburg Police


To:               Traffic Committee Members


From:           Kristel Dickerson, Administrative Liaison


Date:            April 1, 2019


Subject:        Traffic Committee Meeting Agenda – April 2, 2019



The Town of Blacksburg Traffic Committee will meet on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Blacksburg Motor Company, Conference Room #1, located at 400 S. Main Street in Blacksburg, Virginia.


Citizens are always provided the opportunity to voice their views/concerns regarding any item before the Committee.  It is the policy of the Traffic Committee to move the agenda item to the beginning of the meeting when citizens are in attendance to avoid detaining guests for the entire meeting.  However, citizens are always welcome to stay for the full meeting.



Financial Update:


Capital Project:  C10412 (820-3101-852.70-99)


  • Current Available Funding:$23,634.01

(balance available to spend in this project to date)


  • Current Encumbrances:
  • $3,235.53 - Intersection Study for BMS on Prices Fork Road

                                                                         (Requisition date: 11/13/18)


Old Business:


  1. With the reworking of the North Main Street/460 BYPASS interchange, more traffic is occurring on Sunridge Drive between Chickahominy Drive and Toms Creek.  At certain times of the day, if a car is attempting to turn left onto Toms Creek from Sunridge Drive, a substantial back-up can occur; the resident recommended forbidding left hand turns during the evening rush hour.  This would have the effect of causing cars to continue up Chickahominy Drive, turn right onto Patrick Henry and then have a signal to make the left onto Toms Creek.


    Committee Recommendation from December 2018 Meeting:  Tabled for February 2019

    This area has been addressed previously from a different standpoint, and the Committee’s reaction remains the same.  No action was recommended previously because there are other options and alternate routes that drivers can take.  One thought is that the issue lies within drivers trying to avoid the traffic light, when the better choice is to actually use the light.  A great deal of the high volume is likely due to commuter traffic.  The left hand turns could not be limited only during “evening rush hour”, it would have to be either all of the time, or not at all.  This item has come up previously, but there’s not an acceptable, cost efficient solution that wouldn’t have a ripple effect, and it may arise to a greater concern if there weren’t other options only a block away.  There have been a few accidents over the years, but not enough to warrant further action.  A live traffic count can be conducted after the students return from winter break to get an accurate view of the current situation on Sunridge Drive.  Tabled for February 2019


    Committee Recommendation from February 2019 Meeting:  Tabled for Traffic Count

    This item tabled to obtain live traffic count.  Tabled for Traffic Count


    Committee Recommendation from March 2019 Meeting:  Tabled for Traffic Count

    A live traffic count has been attempted on two occasions, but neither returned substantial data.  Another attempt will be made.  Tabled for Traffic Count


  2. A concern has been received most recently in the Town Manager’s Office, and initially in the Police Department, from Kathy Huser regarding the intersection of S. Main Street and Hubbard Street.She witnessed a motor vehicle crash in this location, and has a list of items she feels contributed to the incident, including what she feels is a dangerous right turn on red.At the February 2019 meeting, the Committee added her correspondence as additional business, and at that time agreed to the installation of signage (see below).However, Ms. Huser has also reached out to the Town Manager’s Office and it is requested that this item be added officially to the agenda for Traffic Committee to conduct a general review of the intersection.


    Committee Recommendation from February 2019 Meeting:  Signage Recommended

    Ms. Huser witnessed a serious accident and has several concerns and suggestions for how this intersection should be improved.  It’s important to note, however, that the characteristics of the intersection were in no way a contributing factor to the circumstances of the accident.  Her ideas include enforcing a no right turn on red, moving the signal box, adjusting the stop lines, and enforcing no U-turns if heading north on Main Street.  All of her concerns have been previously considered and addressed as part the Traffic Committee’s recommendation to reconfigure the lanes at this intersection with pavement markings in September of 2016.  At today’s meeting the Committee took another look at signage and agreed that a sign on the Ellet side indicating which lane to get into once the lane splits could be an additional proactive effort at this intersection.  The sign will indicate right lane, right turn only and middle lane, left turn/straight through combined.  The Committee agrees to move forward with the signage immediately.  Signage Recommended


    Committee Recommendation from March 2019 Meeting:  Tabled for April 2019 Meeting

    Ms. Huser was present for the meeting, and presented her concerns, along with a handout, to the Committee.  She met with Chris Lawrence in the Town Manager’s Office previously, and he encouraged her to bring the item before Traffic Committee so she will have the opportunity to voice her concerns before the group.  Each of her points has been considered individually in the past, but it is requested that the Committee review the intersection as a whole.  She has three main suggestions for improvement at this intersection, which are as follows:  1.) no right turn on red off Hubbard          2.) relocate traffic signal box at corner of Hubbard/S. Main and adjust stop lines/pedestrian crosswalk  3.) prohibit south to north U-turns on Main.  She fears the vehicles coming off the blind curve on Ellet approaching the intersection with a leading green cannot see or be seen by the vehicles coming off Hubbard on their right turn on red.  Then drivers going S. on Main Street making a U-turn back to point north present an unknown conflict in the intersection.  She also feels that the stainless steel traffic control box occludes the line of sight for drivers coming off Hubbard who stop behind the pedestrian crossing lines.  We have very aggressive, inexperienced drivers, and the ultimate question is how we design an intersection around bad driver behavior if drivers are not coming to a complete stop and assessing the situation before making the right on red.  The accidents that have happened in this location have not been attributable to the characteristics of the intersection.  Her observation is that Main Street is too friendly for drivers attempting to avoid the recent backups at the Southgate traffic circles, so she suggests making Main Street more congested to deter the extra traffic, but then that traffic will just be pushed out into the neighborhoods, which creates new concerns.  The intersection was recently reconfigured to allow the right on red to cut down on backups on Hubbard and Ellet, so it’s not feasible to remove the right on red, therefore re-creating backups, and the traffic control signal box is not moveable.  The Committee, however, did discuss the protocol for lane guides, which would be dotted lines that guide cars to stay in the left lane instead of shooting over to the right lane while maneuvering the turn.  Ultimately, prohibiting the U-turn would only effect certain businesses in one small area, which includes TNT Property Management, Hot Rod Tattoo, and Brian’s Lock & Key, and if action is taken, this would likely be the first point to be addressed.  In conclusion, the Committee agrees that Lt. Goad will make a site visit to speak with the businesses effected to obtain their feedback, the possibility of lane markings will be further explored, Public Works will keep a check on overgrown vegetation, and Erik Olsen will obtain ridership data for this area.  Tabled for April 2019 Meeting


  3. A concern has been received from Laura Naccarato, a Blacksburg resident, regarding lighting in the crosswalk on UCB near Broce Drive.Her correspondence follows:


“My name is Laura Naccarato and I am a resident of Blacksburg. Today while walking to my friend's apartment, I used the crosswalk on University City Blvd by Broce Drive in the dark. I am concerned that there are no streetlights here and it is hard for cars to see pedestrians in the crosswalk. Is there anyway for streetlights to be put here? Thank you for your time.”


Update 03/01/19:  Lori Lester, Streetlight Correspondent/Engineering Department, has conducted a site visit and her observations concluded that there is not a pole nor a streetlight near the crosswalk in question, although there is a light at the Broce/UCB intersection.  Several other lights on UCB are currently out, and AEP has been aware of the problem since last fall and have determined that it is an underground problem.  If Traffic Committee recommends that a light should be added at the crosswalk in question, she will be happy to facilitate the installation with the appropriate personnel.


Committee Recommendation from March 2019 Meeting:  Tabled for Funding Options

The newly installed crosswalk on UCB near Broce does not have a streetlight in its proximity.  The consensus is that if the town placed the crosswalk there, then it should be lit.  There is currently not an existing pole in place, but Lori Lester can help us facilitate the installation.  The issue of funding will need to be addressed.  Lt. Goad will speak with Lori regarding the lighting budget, and Erik Olsen will also talk with BT regarding the possibility of sharing the cost since the location is partially a bus stop.  Tabled for Funding Options 



NEXT MEETING DATE:  The next Traffic Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 9:00 am in the Training Room of the Blacksburg Police Department, located at 200 Clay Street, SW. 



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