BOS Hoping for Intelligent Traffic Lights on 29

The Board of Supervisors is trying to convince VDOT to install condition-adaptive traffic lights on 29 North, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The Virginia Department of Transportation has already outfitted the Pantops area, installing Rhythm Engineering’s InSync hardware package at every intersection between Route 64 and High Street. The lights use video cameras to track the rate of traffic coming from each direction in each lane, and adjusts the lights accordingly. That way a light doesn’t stay green when there’s no oncoming traffic while cars are stacked up at a red, waiting to cross that same intersection.

VDOT isn’t enthusiastic about the proposal, because 29 North would require coordinating a couple of dozen lights at a cost of about $800,000, a rather more complex installation than they’re looking to do right now. Perhaps this should have been tried prior to spending a couple of hundred million dollars to build a bypass around our bypass.

The Pantops installation has been in place for a year now. My daily commute requires that I turn onto 250 from 20, and vice-versa. The difference has been like night and day. It used to take 3–5 light cycles for me to turn onto 20; now it takes 1–2. I get home 5–10 minutes faster every day.

5 Responses to “BOS Hoping for Intelligent Traffic Lights on 29”


  • VDOT probably doesn’t like due to NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome. Seriously, if every state in the Union had lights as overwhelmingly stupid as Virginia’s, there would be no point in driving anywhere.

    It’s the 21st century, people, let’s find something better than traffic lights fer crissake. In the meantime, this type of engineered solution is a good stopgap.

  • Little known fact. The lights on 29 between Hydrolic and airport are set for 58 MPH. Just go that little bit above the limit and you never see a red….

  • I always wondered why we don’t have any flashing lights (that I know of)after 8/9 PM. It seems that it would improve traffic flow all over the city and county (maybe not on 29), while cost pennies on the dollar.

    I’d also note that traffic will never be improved if designs like the new Stonefield continue to be approved. Only Trader Joe’s, Pier 1, and the Regal Theater are open and yet traffic and parking are already terrible. I can’t imagine what it will be like once all the businesses are open and residential units are filled.

  • I always wondered why we don’t have any flashing lights (that I know of)after 8/9 PM.

    Downtown used to be full of flashing lights overnight and on Sundays. Just about every light on Water, Market, and High was a blinking light then. No longer living downtown, I’m not sure if that’s still the case.

  • “I’d also note that traffic will never be improved if designs like the new Stonefield continue to be approved.”

    Why do you include the city here Evan? Seems nobody has to worry within the city limits about that; particularly those who are the “influential control set” having such virulent aversion to anything “sprawl” and would hand judgment down on such being other than “economic vitality.”

    However I too agree with you on your point, traffic movement is far more important. Thus the usual suspect mentality here injects veilded indirect support in erradicating vehicular traffic and expounding the virtue of multimodal transportation, although not so much for alternate transit but rather primarily for bicycles. Word has it, Portland Oregon is a shining example of gearing corporate welfare redistribution and social engineering towards implemented bicycle reliance. Of course, nobody should take any piece or every aspect of general gossip very serious.

    Now not everything the local bicyle activists peddle are totally (key word: totally) self-purpose serving. It may not compare to an advanced system to synch traffic lights but, grants through “Safe Routes to School” (when for something other than the additional grandizement of the local bicycle community) is one such matter of method. Oh but no, to have absolute power has corrupted in that case. They’ve got to exert their influence and exert will for all and everything in their cause. I was educated as to the existence of Darth Schwinn in 2011 and the local bicycle community accomplices as accessory to varied complicities within TJPDC’s (Thomas Jefferson’s Planning District Committee) “many plans – one community” workshops. Attention, price check on the Animal Farm Livability Planning Project. Unsatiated Bicycle Groups and an incredulous TJPDC are two entities who so deserve each other, especially given each own’s propensity for lack in public transparency!

    It’s like some worn and bad episode of the Outer Limits. “Do not attempt to adjust your set.”

    “Perhaps this should have been tried prior to spending a couple of hundred million dollars to build a bypass around our bypass.” Thank you Waldo, now permit me to put in my two bits. Maybe more aggravations and other frustrations could’ve been averted, had a certain locality (spelt with a “C” and not Crozet) insisted upon confronting that notorious US-29 corridor “Best Buy” Bottleneck instead of persistently ignoring it and leaving the complication for the neighbor next door. That is of course, minus its due recompense of extortion via revenue sharing agreement. Gee, how many millions went down that briar-rabbit hole instead? Oh but wait, let’s still use the bypass to divvy around blame.

    How ironic this happens to be about these one and same Route29 traffic lights, which too were installed long ago to handle another type traffic flow concern. How vacuous to be preoccupied with the perpetration of a deck stacking, when the game from despite the start remains rigged.

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