Re-Timing of Lights Delayed

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

January 17, 2006

Traffic within the city of Charlottesville continues to get worse as the volume of traffic increases. The city has been working to speed up your commute down West Main Street by timing the lights. The only problem is that the deadline was the end of last year, and they still are out of sync.

"I think people are getting into trouble when they go down West Main [because] it's always busy, it's always going to be," said Ryan Burton Charlottesville Resident.

Rush hour traffic in downtown Charlottesville can be a nightmare for some drivers, but the city is working to re-time the lights to speed-up your commute.

"[You] get about a 20 percent improvement of your overall traffic flow when you synchronize the lights. I think actually on Main street we have a potential to do better than that simply because the situation on West Main Street is so bad right now," said Kevin Lynch Charlottesville City Councilor.

The problem is, the program still isn't underway.

"The initial plan was to have this completely finished by the end of the year. We have all of the equipment installed in the field. That's been accomplished. What hasn't been accomplished is the setting up and the programming of the software that controls all that," said Lynch.

Officials and residents are hoping this happens by next month.

"If they time them, if they did everything adequately and appropriately, it could work, but if they lag on it, it won't work," said Charlottesville Resident Jim Cole.

There may be some more changes as the end of West Main. People traveling South on McIntyre/Ridge will get an extra lane to go straight through the light past the Lewis and Clark statue.

"You can move more traffic through there and since they'll be merging at speed, you can just get a few more cars through every cycle of the lights," said Lynch.

Councilors have discussed the possibility moving the Lewis and Clark statue across the road to South Street and actually closing South Street in hopes that it would make it a more normal and efficient intersection. But this is just an idea they are discussing.

The West Main re-timing is the first in a three phase program to speed up traffic.

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