Roanoke traffic planners asking for public input on area congestion

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR News) – Traffic planners for the Roanoke area are looking for feedback on congestion.

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization, RVTPO is asking for input with a new survey to try to get a feel for what areas people are seeing delays in and why.

They want to use this data to help plan and prioritize future traffic projects to keep congestion down.

When you talk about traffic in Roanoke, it depends on who you ask.

Allen Melton is from Wytheville and has only been driving in Roanoke for about a year.

“For me it’s kind of crazy. I’m just not used to a big city, this is like the biggest place I’ve been to,” said Melton.

Chris Smith has been living in Roanoke for about 20 years.

“It’s not too bad. I come from up north, New York. So it’s a lot better than up there,” Smith said.

It may not be as bad as other cities, but many people have to sit in traffic on Roanoke roads.

“There’s definitely some congestion, maybe not as busy as some of the larger cities, but we live out in Cave Spring so sometimes 419 will be a little congested during commuter hours,” said Chip Baggett who has been driving on these roads for about 7 years.

Because of the area’s size, the RVTPO is required to have a congestion management process.

“This is good for us because although we don’t have severe congestion now, we do have some and as the economy improves if we’re just doing the things we always do, we’re going to get more traffic congestion,” said Transportation Planner Rachel Ruhlen.

They are asking people to fill out this survey where you can drag and drop a pin on a map anywhere you’ve experienced traffic backups and explain what you were doing and how long it lasted.

“The reason we ask that is because when you are experiencing traffic congestion, you are a part of traffic congestion. And so this will help us to understand some of the causes of traffic congestion. What are people trying to do when they’re starting to become part of traffic congestion,” Ruhlen said.

The planning organization has access to real-time info from GPS data on what traffic on the roads looks like. So they already have some trouble areas identified but they want to see if people’s experiences match the data.

“We are also seeking public input to kind of further confirm that. And to give the public a chance to say, yea this matches my experience or well maybe this matches my experience, but I really think this is a really big problem too. And maybe we can dive into that more.”

A process that drivers like Nathan Jones appreciate.

“I think it’s a good idea so that we don’t end up like big cities like Atlanta and Richmond and all these other big cities who have to deal with traffic and stuff on their big beltways,” Jones said.

The survey will be open until February 14. Click here for more information.

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