Video: How the city determines speed limits

In this episode of “Actually…,” City Traffic Engineer Troy Rother explains how the city determines speed limits on our roadways.

– Public Communications Office

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Hands-free device ordinance to be enforced soon

Sign reads "Prohibited: Cell phone use hands-free only. Violators subject to fine."

Sign reads "Prohibited: Cell phone use hands-free only. Violators subject to fine."

By Officer Tristen Lopez, CSPD Public Information Officer

This week, more than 30 signs will be installed around College Station that label the city as having a hands-free ordinance in effect as it relates to drivers and their wireless communications device of choice.

The idea is that fewer distractions will result in fewer crashes, injuries and deaths.

The hands-free requirement applies to anyone using a cell phone while operating a vehicle or riding a bicycle on a public roadway in College Station, which includes typing, sending or reading texts, or making a call. Under the ordinance, even using GPS while driving requires the device to be attached to a mount.

You may pick up your device while driving only if:

  • You are at a complete stop.
  • It is an emergency.
  • You are selecting music on your device. (state requirement)

The ordinance was approved by the College Station City Council in late February and was set to be enforced in March, but the health and budgetary impacts of COVID-19 delayed the city from moving forward until now.

Once all signs have been installed, the College Station Police Department will allow a 30-day warning period before having the option of issuing citations for violators. Fine amounts range from $25-$500.

If a hands-free ordinance in College Station sounds familiar, you’re right: The city originally began enforcing a similar ordinance in January 2017, but by September of that same year, the state passed its own law that pre-empted some of the city’s provisions and led to the city council repealing ours.

Please don’t drive distracted — #JustDrive.


About the Blogger

Tristen Lopez is in his 11th year with the College Station Police Department.


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Video: Why are there cameras on traffic signal arms?

In this episode of “Actually…,” City Traffic Engineer Troy Rother says people often often mistake the purpose of the cameras mounted on top of traffic signal mast arms. The cameras simply detect vehicles at the intersection and give them a green light so they don’t have to wait as long.

– Public Communications Office

What’s the deal with the signal timing on University?

By Troy Rother, City Traffic Engineer

Few things are more frustrating than being stuck in seemingly endless traffic.

If you’ve driven down University Drive in Northgate in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably faced extraordinarily long wait times. A soon as you go through a green light, the next light turns red. At times, it takes 15 or 20 minutes to travel a single mile.

Let me assure you, we share your frustration and apologize deeply for the inconvenience.

Allow me to explain what’s behind all the chaos. It won’t ease your frustration, but at least you’ll know what’s going on.

Our contractor activated the reconstructed Northgate traffic signals on Aug. 22. Regrettably, the signal contractor didn’t have his subcontractors present for the activation as the city had directed. As a result, the detection systems didn’t function properly, which caused the traffic signal to give the maximum green time for all approaches — even if a vehicle wasn’t present on that approach.

Rest assured we’re working diligently with the subcontractors to correct the problem. We’ve developed coordinated timing plans for the corridor and are installing them this week. We’re also working on camera activation, emergency vehicle recognition, and getting the signals to talk to one another.

That said, it’s essential to keep in mind that the focus of the entire project is pedestrian safety in an area bustling with thousands of students. Recent pedestrian accidents in the area – including several tragic fatalities – led the city to work with the university and the Texas Department of Transportation to make necessary changes.

The good news is that we expect to have the final timings installed the week of Sept. 9. The complex project was supposed to be finished months ago, but weather and utility conflicts created numerous delays.

When fully implemented, the signal timings will have an exclusive pedestrian-only phase for walking and cycling traffic to cross University Drive or the minor roadway at the intersection. During this time, all vehicular traffic will be stopped, including right-turning vehicles.

The pedestrian-only phase will undoubtedly create delays for motorists, but benefits include a safer situation for pedestrians and no pedestrian conflicts for vehicles attempting to turn onto University Drive. For example, we observed traffic at the Nagle intersection this week and saw 12 vehicles turning left onto University instead of the usual four because the vehicles didn’t have to wait for pedestrians to cross during motorists’ green light.

Our overriding goal will always be to operate and maintain a safe and efficient transportation system. Unfortunately, the complexities involved sometimes create frustrations and inconveniences for us all. We appreciate your patience and understanding.


About the Blogger

Troy Rother has been College Station’s city traffic engineer since 2003. He previously served as an engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation and in the private sector with Wilbur Smith Associates. Troy earned bachelor’s (1997) and master’s (1998) degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M.


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TxDOT starts work Monday on Harvey Mitchell-University Drive interchange project


The Texas Department of Transportation begins work Monday on the reconstruction of the bridge and intersections at University Drive (FM60) and Harvey Mitchell Parkway (FM2818). The project will address congestion and improve safety at the intersections and the entrance and exit ramps.

The $13.8 million project is expected to take about 25 months to complete and will result in the third Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) in Texas. The others DDIs in Texas are on I-35 in Round Rock and San Marcos.

University Drive closed during spring break

University Drive from Research Parkway to Turkey Creek Road will be completely closed from midnight Friday, March 10, until 6 a.m. Monday, March 20, to allow for full-depth pavement reconstruction. To reach Easterwood Airport’s main terminal, motorists should access Turkey Creek Road from HSC Parkway or F&B Road.

“The depth of the excavation and the allowable space across the bridge — in addition to the multiple interchanges in the area — would make it very difficult to safely construct with adjacent vehicles at highway speeds,” TxDOT’s Bob Colwell said. “The alternative is several weeks of nighttime closures that would result in higher project cost and more traveler delays.

“While inconvenient to drivers, the short-term closure during spring break will allow our contractor to reconstruct the pavement more efficiently while providing added protection for drivers and the worker. We thank everyone for their patience.”

Here’s TxDOT’s video simulation that illustrates how the new interchange will work:

Additional Information:

Suggested Detour Routes:

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City works to reduce gameday traffic congestion

Game Day Traffic

As much as we all love Aggie football, there’s one thing we dread when football season arrives – the increased traffic around Kyle Field.

In the early 1990s, the city worked closely with Texas A&M to develop the Go With the Green Plan to move traffic in and out of the area after football games. The plan has worked well, but the rapid growth of the city and the university – not to mention all the new visitors from the SEC – means it must be tweaked and updated.