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:
- Decrease crashes at signalized intersections by installing protected-only green left-turn indications.
- Decrease left-turn lane waiting at FM2818 and Holleman by increasing green time for FM2818 left-turns.
- 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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By 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.
This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Jan. 22. It’s not the official minutes.
Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.
The workshop meeting has started.
6:14 p.m. (more…)
By Colin Killian, Communications Manager
The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:
- Open Data Initiative: The council will receive a workshop presentation about the city’s planned approach to make government data more accessible and useful.
- A&M Soccer Recognition: The council will recognize the 2014 Texas A&M soccer team for advancing to the NCAA College Cup for the first time.
- Traffic Signal Controllers: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider purchasing 80 replacement traffic signal controllers as part of the city’s Intelligent Traffic System master plan.
- Oil & Gas Ordinance: After a public hearing, the council will consider amendments to the city’s oil and gas ordinance, including a road maintenance agreement and associated fees, and a financial assurance agreement to cover bond and insurance requirements.
- Annexation Service Plan: The council will consider directing staff to prepare a service plan for the annexation of about 200 acres generally bordered by Wellborn Road, Royder Road and Greens Prairie Trail. The owner of about 70 of those acres petitioned the city for annexation last year.
At the intersection of Timber Street at George Bush Drive, we’ve installed radar detection that detects bicycles and cars more accurately than the inductive loops and cameras used at most of the city’s traffic signals. We’ve also installed bicycle detection markings to inform bicyclists that they will be detected at the intersection every time — not hit-or-miss like other detection devices.