The intersection of West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road in Short Pump was voted the number one most dangerous intersection in Henrico County, judged by the number of traffic incidents that Henrico Police responded to over the past year. And while it might not come as any surprise to those who live in the […]
The intersection of West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road in Short Pump was voted the number one most dangerous intersection in Henrico County, judged by the number of traffic incidents that Henrico Police responded to over the past year. And while it might not come as any surprise to those who live in the Far West End, what may be surprising is the limited number of options to remedy the situation.
While many residents have offered up suggestions such as making the Pouncey Tract or Pump Road signals stay green longer, it may not be that simple. According to VDOT spokeswoman Dawn Eischen, there are a number of factors that complicate the situation.
“If we were to give more green time to side streets, the result would be gridlock conditions on Broad Street, other side streets and business entrances would become blocked by traffic congestion, the I-64 ramps and westbound Broad Street through lanes would become blocked with stopped vehicles, and there would be major congestion on Interstate 64 in both directions as drivers attempt to access Broad Street,” Eischen said.
Other suggestions such as adding turn lanes to Pouncey Tract Road at West Broad Street also aren’t likely happening anytime soon. “Any adjustments to turn lanes or adding additional lanes at the Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road intersection would require VDOT to purchase property from businesses at that intersection,” says Eischen. “That would significantly increase the cost of intersection improvements and cause major impacts to those businesses.”
According to recent statistics, West Broad Street carries as many as 86,000 vehicles per day in Short Pump, which is more than Interstate 95 just south of Ashland. Eischen says light cycles for vehicles entering West Broad Street from side roads will become even shorter in order to keep traffic flowing. The good news is that the signals do in fact adapt to traffic volumes.
Signals along the Broad Street corridor operate in “traffic responsive mode” which means the system constantly evaluates vehicle volumes and patterns at numerous locations to determine and implement the appropriate traffic signal timing plans, which can be activated in under two minutes. Eischen says the system responds automatically to weather events, unexpected variations of school and business schedules, holiday traffic and accidents. She says the entire light cycle at the Broad and Pouncey Tract light is between 100 and 114 seconds and no lengthening of that cycle is expected.
The intersection of West Broad Street and Brookriver Drive, named the second most dangerous intersection in Henrico, will have signal timing adjustments, though. Those are expected to be complete by October 2010.
The intersection’s best hope are new roadways to provide relief, according to VDOT. “We anticipate traffic along the Broad Street corridor will experience some relief once the North Gayton Connector is complete,” Eischen says. “VDOT will re-evaluate signal timings and make adjustments wherever needed after this project is complete.”
Recent developments have caused a significant amount of new traffic on West Broad Street as well. According to VDOT statistics:
- 12,000 additional vehicles per day from Town Center West
- 12,000 additional vehicles per day from The Corner at Short Pump, including the new Kroger
- 14,000 additional vehicles per day from developments near Three Chopt Road
- 31,000 additional vehicles per day from West Broad Village
Other notable increases include traffic volumes on Pouncey Tract Road just north of Broad Street exceeding 31,000 vehicles per day and Broad Street between Gayton Road and Route 288’s daily volumes increasing from 16,000 in 2003 to more than 28,000 in 2007. A recent 24-hour vehicle count taken on Monday, March 7, 2010 shows 24,223 vehicles using Broad Street on that day.
Do you have ideas or suggestions to help alleviate traffic throughout Short Pump? Leave them in the comments below.