Posts tagged “traffic signals

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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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Thomas Park Improvements: In the workshop, the council will discuss options for improvements to Thomas Park. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommends a covered tennis court, a dog park and two covered picnic tables on the park’s north end.
  2. Traffic Signal at Barron-Alexandria: The consent agenda includes a $282,000 contract to install a traffic signal at the Barron Road-Alexandria Avenue intersection.
  3. Water Conservation and Drought Plans: Also on the consent agenda are updates to the city’s drought contingency and water conservation plans.
  4. Bird Pond Road Development: After a pair of public hearings, the commission will consider a request to change the land use and zoning for about 13 acres northeast of the Rock Prairie-Bird Pond intersection. The changes would allow the development of a residential subdivision.
  5. Lick Creek Sewer Line: The council will consider a $10.9 million contract with Thalle Construction for the Lick Creek Trunk Line Project. The sewer line will extend from the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant through the southern boundary of Pebble Creek Country Club and tie into an existing line north of Fitch Parkway.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (March 28)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, March 28. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:11 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session. 

5:23 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Funding Agreement With TxDOT: In 2018, the city entered into an advanced funding agreement with TxDOT for the construction of intersection improvements Wellborn Road and Deacon Drive. TxDOT has since updated the required resolution language and is requiring that the city adopt the revised resolution. The agreement covers work needed within state right-of-way as part of the Cain/Deacon railroad crossing switch project.
  • Wellborn Special Utility District Agreement: The widening and realignment of Royder require the relocation of Wellborn SUD waterlines. To reduce costs and make sure the relocations are completed on the road project schedule, the city will complete the relocations. Wellborn SUD will reimburse the city for the portion of waterline within the state’s right-of-way.
  • Police Body Cameras: The five-year obligation of $147,287 adds 17 Axon body cameras and 14 flex cameras to outfit detectives in the Criminal Investigations Division and members of the SWAT team.

5:43 p.m.

Historic Preservation Committee Annual Report

The council reviewed the annual report from the Historic Preservation Committee.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

5:51 p.m.

Secondhand Dealer Ordinance

The council reviewed a proposed ordinance that would strengthen the consistency of recordkeeping among secondhand dealers, which is defined as those who buy used personal property for resale or lend money on the security of personal property. It includes crafted precious metal dealers and pawnbrokers.

Police say the ordinance will increase the likelihood of intercepting stolen property.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

6:55 p.m.

NCO Recommendations

The council reviewed recommendations related to the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay zoning district and its associated standards and processes. Since last summer, the council has received additional information related to neighborhood conservation ordinances in Bryan, and the Heart of Southside NCO process has ended.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

6:57 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:05 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:11 p.m.

Mayor’s Water Conservation Challenge

Mayor Mooney proclaimed the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation throughout April. The eighth annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is designed to inspire residents to make online pledges to reduce their environmental impact and to reap the savings on their water, sanitation, and electricity bills.

7:15 p.m.

National Public Health Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed next week as National Public Health Week, which has been promoted since 1995 by the American Public Health Association to educate the public, policymakers and public health professionals about issues important to improving public health.

7:24 p.m.

CSFD Class 1 ISO Designation

Representatives from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office officially presented the College Station Fire Department with its Class 1 ISO rating. Most U.S. property insurers use ISO’s Public Protection Classification program to calculate premiums, which are generally lower in communities with a high rating.

Fewer than one percent of the 47,500 fire protection areas in the United States have a Class 1 ISO rating.

Related Blog: CSFD joins elite company with Class 1 ISO rating

7:30 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized 2nd Lt. Johnny K. Craver as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 37-year-old McKinney native died on Oct. 13, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq.

7:31 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Established a 35 mph speed limit on new sections of Lakeway Drive and Pebble Creek Parkway.
  • Added a school zone along Graham Road, Longmire Drive, and Birmingham Road near International Leadership Texas.
  • Repealed an old resolution and adopted a new one regarding an advanced funding agreement with the state for intersection improvements at Wellborn Road and Deacon Drive that are part of the Cain/Deacon railroad crossing switch project.
  • An inter-local agreement with the Wellborn Special Utility District for its cost participation in the city’s Royder Road Phase II Widening Project.
  • A $340,000 contract with Bayer Construction for a traffic signal at the intersection of Texas Avenue and Brothers Boulevard.
  • A third change order increasing the master services and purchasing agreement with Axon Enterprise from $1.17 million to $1.3 million for the purchase, support, warranty, and video data storage of police body cameras and in-car video systems.
  • An amendment permitting the two appointed citizen members of the Audit Committee to vote on matters before the committee.
  • Terminated restrictions under a 1984 general warranty deed on a small tract of land formerly owned by the city in the Chimney Hill Retail Plaza on University Drive.

7:46 p.m.

Koppe Bridge Zoning Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to amend the zoning for Koppe Bridge Bar & Grill on Harvey Road to reduce the landscape buffer and allow additional parking between the restaurant and Harvey Hillsides Creek.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

8:01 p.m.

BioCorridor Zoning Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the zoning for the Research Valley BioCorridor Development Project, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit. The changes would provide process and design flexibility.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:15 p.m.

Blocks and Streets UDO Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a Unified Development Ordinance amendment to allow more preliminary plans to be approved at the staff level, saving applicants weeks of waiting for a Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:36 p.m.

FY19 Bond Authorization

The council voted unanimously to approve the issuance of up to $82 million in FY19 certificates of obligation to fund street, public facilities, electric, water, and wastewater projects, and pay debt issuance costs.

Certificates of obligation are based on the city’s full faith and credit and are paid primarily through the debt service portion of the property tax rate and another funding stream such as utility revenues. The city’s financial advisor recommended the city issue COs for utility projects instead of utility revenue bonds. The utility systems will cover their associated portion of debt service through utility revenues.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:50 p.m.

Francis Drive Emergency Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a $334,000 emergency construction contract with Larry Young Paving to complete the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Shady Drive to Glenhaven Drive. The previous contract was terminated, and the emergency contract is necessary to protect public health and safety.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:53 p.m.

General Parkway Extension Change Order

The council voted unanimously to approve a $63,467.50 change order to the contract with Palasota Contracting for the General Parkway Extension North Project, which includes the extension of General Parkway to Cain Road.

At the start of the excavation and embankment operation, the contractor found soft soil and the removal of two inches of soil per specification direction did not remedy the situation. The change order is for the removal of up to three inches of soil with additional stabilization and imported fill to remedy the poor conditions.

The extension of General Parkway will allow for improved transportation flow after the closing of the railroad crossing at Cain Road and Wellborn Road.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:58 p.m.

City Manager Bryan Woods introduced Barbara Moore and Brian Piscacek as assistants to the city manager. Moore moves over after about 12 years as neighborhood services coordinator, while Piscacek served almost seven years as a community development analyst.

9:01 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, April 11.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Neighborhood Conservation Overlay: In the workshop, the council will consider recommendations related to the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay zoning district. The council has received additional information related to neighborhood conservation ordinances in Bryan, and the Heart of Southside since the NCO process ended.
  2. School Zone on Graham Road: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider adding a 25 mph school zone along Graham Road, Longmire Drive and Birmingham Road for International Leadership Texas.
  3. Traffic Signal at Texas-Brothers: The consent agenda also includes a contract for a traffic signal at the intersection of Texas Avenue and Brothers Boulevard. TxDOT is installing medians on Texas between Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Deacon Drive.
  4. BioCorridor Zoning Amendment: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the zoning for the Research Valley BioCorridor Development Project, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit. The proposed changes would provide process and design flexibility.
  5. Francis Drive Emergency Contract: The council will consider an emergency construction contract with Larry Young Paving to complete the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Shady Drive to Glenhaven Drive. The city terminated the previous contract, and the emergency contract is needed to preserve and protect public health and safety.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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Improvements along FM2818 to boost safety, mobility

By James Robertson, Assistant Traffic Engineer

It’s not exactly a secret that traffic flow remains a dominant issue as College Station continues to expand.

One of our most heavily congested corridors is FM2818 (Harvey Mitchell Parkway) from Holleman Drive to George Bush Drive. Consequently, the surging traffic volume has led to a significant increase in crashes in that area.

The problem isn’t being ignored. Far from it.

College Station is working closely with other local agencies to reduce these incidents in both the long and short-term.

Long-term mitigation by the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Texas Department of Transportation includes widening FM2818 and restricting turning movements at driveways. The City of College Station will join TxDOT – which maintains many of our roads, including 2818 – to conduct a public meeting about the widening project later this year.

In the short term, the College Station Public Works Department has pursued lower-cost operational changes that achieve three primary objectives:

  1. Decrease crashes at signalized intersections by installing protected-only green left-turn indications.
  2. Decrease left-turn lane waiting at FM2818 and Holleman by increasing green time for FM2818 left-turns.
  3. Decrease travel time along FM2818 between Bush and Holleman by increasing the green time for FM2818.

To achieve these objectives, our traffic signal technicians have worked with the city’s traffic engineering staff to implement and calibrate new signal timing plans. We’ve installed protected-only green left-turn arrows at the intersection of FM2818 with Holleman, Bush and Luther Drives.

Using Bluetooth readers installed as part of our Intelligent Transportation System Master Plan, we’ve seen substantial improvements in travel times along FM2818 between Bush and Holleman.

We measured peak morning and evening travel times on Sept. 7 – before the timings were installed – and again on Sept. 27 after installation. The following graphs show that cars are moving faster and the duration of slow traffic is shorter. In fact, the drive from Welsh to F&B Road at 8 a.m. was almost 6½ minutes faster. The drive from F&B to Holleman at 5:45 p.m. was about 3½ minutes better.

Evening Peak Data

Morning Peak Data

Calibrating the new signal timing plans has taken a couple of weeks, and we appreciate the public’s patience. Some of the changes we tried also caused problems in the morning peak time. We worked quickly to get those issues resolved.

The Traffic Engineering Division will continue to monitor travel times along this corridor and work with our partner agencies to improve mobility along this corridor and the entire system.

 


About the Blogger

James Robertson is in his fourth year as College Station’s assistant traffic engineer. He also did extensive graduate work with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute while attending Texas A&M, where he earned master’s (2011) and doctorate (2015) degrees in civil engineering with an emphasis on transportation. James received bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from Michigan State (2008) and psychology from Notre Dame (2007).


 

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Drive cautiously as new traffic controllers are installed

Copyright:  / 123RF Stock PhotoBy Troy Rother, City Traffic Engineer

The City of College Station Traffic division on Monday will begin installing new controllers on the city’s 78 traffic signals. The project is expected to take about two weeks and will include new communication equipment and software.

During implementation, please obey traffic control and warning devices, and remember that dark signals — those not switching from green to yellow to red – are treated as four-way stop intersections under state law.

The signal work will typically be done nights and mornings when traffic is lightest. The signals will be flashing while the controller is being replaced and other equipment is installed.

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