In recent weeks, Dr. Gridlock has been soliciting nominations for the longest red lights in the metropolitan area. The longest one turned out to be forever: a red light that does not change in Prince George's County, according to a reader.
Others described waits of an astonishing five, six or seven minutes. Many more had stopped at red lights for three- and four-minute tooth-grinding waits. Readers told us of a sign at a traffic light at Idylwood Road and Route 7 near Falls Church: "I LOST 40 POUNDS . . . waiting for this light to change."
Some of these lights may need attention. Dr. Gridlock will forward your complaints to the proper officials and report on any adjustments they make. Usually, they conduct a field inspection when someone complains.
Also, many readers said a bigger problem is green lights that are too short. What follows is long red lights, but I'll take your nominations for short green lights, starting now, for later use.
Here are the long red lights in your area. To see all the nominations throughout the Washington region, visit www.washingtonpost.com/metro.
A motorist traveling east on Vint Hill Road (Route 215) and approaching Route 28 near Manassas can be caught at a red light for four minutes. Oddly, if the motorist hits that light before 6 a.m., the sensors in the road trip the light immediately, and there's little delay. It's after 6 a.m. that there are problems.
There's gotta be something that can be done to reduce the four-minute red light that occurs at the stroke of 6 a.m. during the week for eastward vehicles on Route 215.
Amissville, Rappahannock County
3 minutes, 15 seconds
That's the length of the red light for drivers going either north or south on Route 619 at its intersection with Route 234 near Independent Hill in Prince William County.
This wait is exacerbated by a green light only 10 to 15 seconds long. Thus, one can easily wait at that light for 10 minutes without making it through.
Needless to say, a great number of cars negotiate this intersection after the light has changed to red.
2 minutes, 50 seconds
Going eastbound on Route 123, at the T intersection with Route 1 in Woodbridge, I timed the red light to get onto northbound Route 1 at 2 minutes, 50 seconds.
This is a recent change. It used to be shorter, I think 1 minute, 45 seconds. This change adds several minutes to my commute.
2 minutes, 40 seconds
Our problem light is at the intersection of River Ridge Road and Route 1 in Woodbridge. Turning left onto Route 1 southbound at 6:20 a.m., when my husband goes to work, the red light is usually 2 minutes, 40 seconds. And there is usually no cross traffic!
And people wonder why residents drive so crazy. It's to make up time for such stupid red lights.
DONNA and MATT BRAGG
2 minutes, 45 seconds
I nominate the traffic light at Featherstone Road and Jefferson Davis Highway, in eastern Prince William County. For westbound Featherstone traffic, the red light ranges from 2 minutes, 30 seconds to 2 minutes, 45 seconds. The green light lasts only about 30 seconds.
The effects of this are compounded by the Jefferson Davis traffic, which tends to block the intersection during the [afternoon] rush hour, making it tough to get through.
Even though it is barely in the D.C. area, I would like to nominate a light in southern Stafford County. It is at the intersection of U.S. 1, U.S. 17 and Route 212. A typical wait, from any direction, is two minutes. At rush hour, traffic on northbound Route 1 backs up across the Rapahannock River toward Fredericksburg.
It takes three to four cycles to get through that light.
CHRISTOPHER L. KOLAKOWSKI
Dr. Gridlock's assistant, Jessica Medinger, contributed to this column.
Dr. Gridlock appears Monday in the Metro section and Wednesday in Prince William Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, P.O. Box 3467, Fairfax, Va. 22038-3467, or e-mail him at email@example.com. The doctor's fax number is 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.