Government

More News | | | Editor

Augusta drivers want better timed traffic signals

Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 7:11 PM
Last updated Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 1:05 AM
  • Follow Latest News

Not a single car is in sight, but Chris Kleinsasser waits and waits at the red light. For a moment, the Augusta resident wonders if the signal at the intersection of Kissingbower Road and Gordon Highway is ever turning green.

Back | Next
Chris Kleinsasser, 36, of Augusta, says he always seems to get caught at the red light located at the intersection of Kissingbower Road and Gordon Highway.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Chris Kleinsasser, 36, of Augusta, says he always seems to get caught at the red light located at the intersection of Kissingbower Road and Gordon Highway.

As he idles in his car, Kleinsasser wonders what could be done, if anything, to maintain a more efficient system of traffic signals.

“I’m not a patient driver,” he said. “When I see no one else coming, I get worked up.”

More than 50 readers of The Augusta Chronicle identified lights across the area where they think the timing needs to be tweaked. Major thoroughfares such as Walton Way, Washington Road and Gordon Highway need improvements in addition to intersections in downtown Augusta and near Augusta Mall, they said.

Chris Hutchinson knows what to expect if he’s caught by a red light at Reynolds Street and the Fifth Street bridge.

“It’s red for 3, 4, 5 minutes tops,” he said. “Nobody’s coming. There’s no traffic.”

City traffic engineer Steve Cassell said timing lights perfectly isn’t as easy as some drivers think. In fact, it’s not even possible.

“There’s no such thing as perfectly timed,” he said.

Cassell said his department conducts maintenance at least once a year but he more commonly learns about mistimed lights when the public calls to complain.

Despite public grievances about long red lights at intersections of cross streets with larger thoroughfares, Cassell said many need to be that way for traffic flow. The main corridor needs more time with a green light.

“Sometimes, you’re just a lesser priority,” he said.

For Rebecca Holley-Forty, the Sunday morning drive to church is like a repeat of the previous week. She and her husband, Randy Forty, catch several red lights in a row on Telfair Street.

“It never ceases to amaze me how we catch that first red light,” she said. “Then, we just sit there and there’s not a car in sight.”

Holley-Forty questions why the signals can’t turn to flashing red lights early on Sunday mornings and other low-traffic periods. Kleinsasser, who is frustrated by red lights on empty streets late at night, said some lights should be flashing after midnight on weekdays and after 2 a.m. on weekends.

The city has tried flashing lights in some spots before and it creates more car crashes and interrupts the cycle of pedestrian crossings, Cassell said.

On downtown roads, Cassell said he’s considering shortening the cycle lengths so lights turn more rapidly.

Reader responses

We asked readers of The Augusta Chronicle to tell us about poorly timed traffic signals in the Augusta area. Visit augustachronicle.com for a mapping of the traffic lights identified by readers and listed below. Do you think a traffic signal needs better timing? Call the city’s traffic engineering department at (706) 821-1841.

View Augusta's Worst Intersections in a full screen map

Comments (23) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/03/12 - 07:34 am
5
0
Must have missed that request for info

(Updated Comments - bad Typo)
------------------------------
Or I would have added

Old Waynesboro RD/Hwy 56 to Tobacco Rd. & Hwy56.
ONLY if you floor it, can you make the next light.

Plus Hwy 56 / Phinizy Rd to Apple Valley or from Tobacco Rd.
Why do we have 15 vehicles waiting on 1 vehicle entering Hwy 56?

Plus 56 Loop from Marvin Griffin passing Bobby Jones there never seems to be a way to make all 2 of the 3 lights even when there is NO Traffic wait?

ANYTHING to do with the Augusta Mall Area.

Maybe I am old, but the Traffic dept. had Wrightsboro Rd from Daniel Village to MCG time at 29MPH back in the late 70's and early 80's.

Gordon Hwy from South Gate/Tubman Home rd. to North leg was timed also.

Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 12/02/12 - 07:38 pm
0
1
Lights and drivers
Unpublished

Poorly times lights are half the trouble. It is frustrating to go light-to-light down Washington Rd after 5 pm or Wrightsboro after 3 pm. However, symchronized lights aren't going to fix the fact that Augustans can't drive. Note that the article said flashing lights increased accidents. I bet that happened because of how people drive in the CSRA. Whatever the speed limit is, Augustans will go 5 to 10 mph faster-- even in the rain, which is why we end up with multiple car pile-ups at least once a year. If Augustans realized their cars came equipped with turn signals, that the lanes that have curved arrows in them are turning lanes that take you in the direction the arrow curves, and that you're supposed to hold your lane when you're turning, traffic would flow much better and fewer people would get cut-off. In some ways, untimely traffic lights probably save lives since so many people drive too fast and don't use turn signals anyways.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 12/02/12 - 09:45 pm
2
1
Rigged signals and (absurd) speed limits

The lights are often rigged to benefit certain businesses with better access and speed limits set to provide more visual time to certain businesses.

You should also know you are in a area set-up for government revenue when you are on 2 or even 4 lane roads with few, if any businesses or schools but with speed limits set "absurdly" low.

dichotomy
37443
Points
dichotomy 12/02/12 - 11:20 pm
10
1
Nope, we can't fix the

Nope, we can't fix the traffic control system for you RC. But we got this Rain TAX thingy for you.....now that's what you really need.

Now, we already tax you to do these things. But we haven't done them because we blew the money on other things that we didn't really need to do. You know....Paul & Billy's parking deck, TEE, crosswalk, redevelopment, things like that. But now the pipes downtown are crumbling and so we need another tax from you.....especially you guys down south where there ain't no pipes and we know we will never have to spend a dime of this new money we are going to take from you. But don't worry. It's only probably going to be a "few" dollars a month. You probably won't even notice it while you a paying that 8% sales tax you so stupidly voted to impose on yourself....at least not until your house payment goes up next year.

Traffic signal timing....forgetaboutit.....you'll be much happier with this Rain TAX thingy. We will get around to a STOP LIGHT TAX after we stick you with this Rain TAX.

kiwiinamerica
982
Points
kiwiinamerica 12/02/12 - 11:24 pm
0
1
Short change........
Unpublished

Then there are the traffic signals which stay green for 5 seconds, tops. If you're on Monte Sano Ave and wanting to turn left into Walton Way and you're #4 in a line of 4 cars, it will take you two change cycles to get out onto Walton Way, especially if the dude at the front of the line is checking his text messages and doesn't take off the instant the light turns green.

Ditto for the light at the intersection of Ingleside Drive and Berckmans Rd. If you're driving on Ingleside Drive wanting to turn left into Berckmans and you're more than 50 yards away from the light the instant it turns green, it will be red again by the time you hit the intersection. If there's one car at the stop light, the light goes green, amber, red in about the same time it took you to read this sentence.

jeff scott
151
Points
jeff scott 12/03/12 - 12:50 am
7
1
What????

“There’s no such thing as perfectly timed,” Mr. Cassell, I know I am not asking for perfect, but your not even close. On Riverwatch you stop through traffic on BOTH sides of the I-20 overpass (exit and and entrance), despite that both I-20 inlet and outlet roads have ample road to allow drivers to wait. When Riverwatch opened it was intended to move traffic more efficiently than the Washington road chaotic nightmare. Now it has evolved into the same stop and stop and stop and go traffic patterns. I don't want perfect but stop giving so much deference to inlet and outlet roads, they have to stop anyway because most turn right or left. Europe does it right....their attitude is KEEP TRAFFIC MOVING.

Oh Phooey
81
Points
Oh Phooey 12/03/12 - 06:24 am
5
3
Roundabouts

Most of these problems could be eliminated with using roundabouts instead of a traffic light. Cheaper, efficient, uses no electricity, and keeps the traffic flowing.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/03/12 - 06:27 am
4
0
leebraxjr
272
Points
leebraxjr 12/03/12 - 06:45 am
5
0
Not much we can do about it

I feel it is about time that when an organization is called upon to make positive changes the first thoughts should be "This is a timing issue of a computer"; " we as humans have control over computers, so lets make a positive effort to correct the problem".
It is really sad when we use such a lame excuse that since it is run by a computer we are to incompentent to correct the problem.
I am ready for someone to truely answer the question " Who really has the solution man or machine"?

DamnYankee
70
Points
DamnYankee 12/03/12 - 07:13 am
4
1
Timed Lights - How about better enforcement as well.

When sitting on Wrightsboro Rd, I wonder the rationale of the lights. I think there are better ways in my opinion. But with that - what about the chronic problem of people blatantly running RED lights. I am amazed that God has spared us from so many accidents from people being dumb. People don't signal lane changes. People do not let traffic merge in - creating back ups. Motorcycles blasting past at 100 mph or so between lanes. Slow(slower than posted speed) people in both the left and right lanes backing up traffic. I see lots of police around, but when these things happens they don't pull anyone over?

Yes, I am from the north. I was just recently on a trip there, and I made a conscious effort to pay attention to the driving. It's just not the same. Much, much, much better than down here. More adherence to basic road rules, following distance, lane changes, etc. I don't know if this is an Augusta thing...or a Southern thing, but it needs to go for the SAFETY of all!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/03/12 - 07:36 am
6
0
Poorly timed light encourage Accidents

Look no further than the Augusta Mall - Bobby Jones area signals for the Best - Worst Example.

When you pull up to a light that is red and cannot make any of the next 3 lights before any turns red that is a timing and flow issue.

When you are 3rd in line at a RED Light and can't make the Green when it changes that is lack of traffic flow pattern attention and planning.

This last example is where you will see the must intersection accidents. It is where Drivers are fed-up, and push through a changing light that should have allowed for the flow of traffic.

NOTE: this is year round ... The holidays are a nightmare.

seenitB4
97384
Points
seenitB4 12/03/12 - 07:42 am
8
2
Repeat after me...

It can be fixed it can be fixed it can be fixed

If Gwinnett & N Fulton county can fix the dang lights YOU can too...

We had the same problems til some smart guys did their jobs & made the traffic flow again....no not perfect but it works.....roundabouts will help too....mybe some folks in Augusta need to talk with other cities ...or even pay these guys to come "helpya".........your problem in Augusta is putting $$$ in the wrong places but dichotomy & open have covered that....

Little Lamb
49001
Points
Little Lamb 12/03/12 - 08:35 am
2
0
Needles & Pins

Hey, take a look at that map above. If you click on the pin at Grovetown, it says that intersection is St. Sebastian Way at Greene Street.

Little Lamb
49001
Points
Little Lamb 12/03/12 - 08:38 am
5
0
Neuman School of Management

Traffic engineer Steve Cassell works for Fred (What, me worry?) Russell. The quotes up above show us that Cassell has adopted Russell's lackadaisical attitude about work. Instead of copying Russell's motto, Cassell has come up with his own — Not my problem.

grinder48
2054
Points
grinder48 12/03/12 - 08:41 am
1
0
We can put a man on the moon but ...
Unpublished

bazillions of gallons of gasoline are wasted annually in this country due to the inefficiencies of traffic signals. There needs to be more sensors sensing traffic movement rather than being set at time intervals. This problem would save more than the cost to resolve it if attacked nationally ...

movingtoaugusta
63
Points
movingtoaugusta 12/03/12 - 09:00 am
5
1
What a difference between.............

What a difference between Richmond (it can't be fixed) County and Columbia (we have a website to report traffic light problems and we will call you back) County. Mr. Cassell needs to set down the kool-aid, roll up his sleeves and respond to the people who pay his salary.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 12/03/12 - 09:23 am
4
3
Roundabout
Unpublished

Not to mention the amount of gas that is wasted with the constant stop and go driving....or the idling time.

On the contrary, impatient drivers please weigh the options.... get to your destination 2-5 min earlier, or cause an accident.

My grandmother always says, whereever you are going will be there when you get there.

iWonder what the cost of roundabouts would be? Probably too smart for Augusta.

*edited: I just read the comments, OP.

Riverman1
93607
Points
Riverman1 12/03/12 - 09:26 am
3
2
Does Columbia County have a

Does Columbia County have a traffic engineer?

Jake
34052
Points
Jake 12/03/12 - 10:12 am
5
0
Sensors

Many traffic lights here in the Bay area have sensors imbedded in the roadway to signal you to go instead of waiting and waiting with a timer.

GiantsAllDay
10484
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/03/12 - 10:17 am
6
0
My imput

Well all know that having to start and stop excessively wastes gas and causes our brakes to wear out prematurely. Maybe Mr. Cassell is being paid off by the brake shops in Augusta, I don't know. How about this: If everyone in Augusta sent Mr. Cassell the bill when they have to replace their worn out brakes..... Oh yeah, figure out how much they have to spend in extra gas b/c of all the unnecessary stopping and send him the bill for that, too. Maybe THEN he'll get the message and start doing his job.

bubbasauce
24260
Points
bubbasauce 12/03/12 - 11:06 am
9
0
I will tell you the problem

I will tell you the problem all of Augusta has, people too lazy to do their jobs! That goes from the bottom of the totem pole to the very top! Boy I hope I don't get flagged for saying this.

Fiat_Lux
16422
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/03/12 - 12:00 pm
2
0
Shorter cycling should be the rule

except during high traffic volume hours. We pretty much know where and when traffic is high volume around here.

Telfair on Sunday mornings, Reynolds Street on Sunday mornings, both should be flashing caution to through traffic and flashing red to stop traffic crossing those streets.

And for heaven's sake, regarding the am weekday rush hour at the medical center complex: Revert back to a longer left turn signal at 15th Street southbound turning onto Walton Way eastbound, at least to what it was this time last year. Only 5-6 cars can make it across during a cycle as it is now, and ever fewer if you have someone from the boonies meandering through that intersection headed to their doctor's office near University. There just aren't so many cars headed north on 15th Street in the early part of the day and they can wait another 20 seconds.

JIL in Grovetown
10
Points
JIL in Grovetown 12/03/12 - 12:17 pm
2
1
Lewiston and William Few Pkwy Intersection

You listed this intersection as one where a traffic signal needs better timing. The thing is, this intersection has NO traffic signal and is desperately in need of one before a tragic accident happens. An article in this paper last Spring quoted an employee (I think a Supervisor in the County Highway Dept) who said now that an agreement has been made between the County and State a light will be installed "this summer" - the same thing was said a couple months later on a TV news show. It's now months later - still no light. I e-mailed a department supervisor regarding this and have never received an answer. I don't remember his name.

Little Lamb
49001
Points
Little Lamb 12/03/12 - 01:49 pm
2
1
Baston

One of the roads in the list (and on the map above, but it's hard to click it because it is behind another pin) is Washington Road at Baston Road. There's not much they can do about that one, because Washington Rd.'s traffic is so much heavier than Baston's traffic. Besides, it's not even an intersection, Baston ends at Washington.

But one nearby that really annoys me is Riverwatch Parkway at Baston Road. You will sit and sit and sit at that light with no one on the cross street. And that's true whether you're on Riverwatch or Baston. That intersection would be a candidate for the sensors that Jake talked about above.

Jake
34052
Points
Jake 12/03/12 - 02:30 pm
4
0
Irritating

People that don't pay attention really gripe me more than traffic lights. Many times I have been in the left turn lane, with quite a few cars ahead of me, and when we get the left turn arrow, the lead car sits and sits and then wakes up to go. Then the person behind them leaves about a 6 car length gap before they turn and on and on until you miss the light and more cars pile up behind you. Stupid and unnecessary.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 12/03/12 - 03:49 pm
2
4
Richmond

Lol... The article includes a few of the intersections in Columbia County, but as usual the sky is only falling in Richmond County.

Adaptive signals were installed already on Washington rd, Gordon Hwy/Jimmie Dyess, and Wrightsboro rd near the mall. They're coming to Wheeler rd and Riverwatch Pkwy/I-20.

The majority of Richmond county residents approved the TEE Center, and it had nothing to do with anybody else. There's a roundabout located in the Carmax area in West Augusta next to the residential complex underway. I'm not sure it could work in every part of Augusta though.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 12/03/12 - 03:51 pm
2
4
Traffic website does exist!

MovingtoAugusta.. Richmond County has a traffic website too.

http://www.augustatraffic.com/

There's also no reason to compare a county with over 200k to one with 130k in terms of the number of daily vehicles. Washington rd, North Belair/South Belair, and the small part of I-520 can't be compared to 15th, Riverwatch, Deans Brige, Peach Orchard, Washington, Wrightsboro, Wheeler, Gordon Hwy, Mike Padgett, etc.

JILinGrovetown.... I can't believe nobody from Columbia County took the time to return you call, and you're still waiting on the traffic singal. According to some of the daily comments this could only happen in Richmond County lol.

Little Lamb
49001
Points
Little Lamb 12/03/12 - 04:27 pm
5
0
Adaptive Signals

I read the same Chronicle article countyman did a couple of months ago when Steve (Not My Problem) Cassell was touting the new adaptive signals he said are already installed on Washington Rd. from the end of Calhoun Expressway all the way to Furys Ferry. The trouble is, either they don't work or they were programmed wrong. The adaptive signals are somehow supposed to sense traffic volume with cameras instead of those magnetic switches in the pavement. Well, I have sat at Washington Rd. crossings (usually Alexander Dr. and also at Pleasant Home Rd.) many, many times when Washington Rd. traffic was light and the signal would stay red for us crossers just as long as it does when Washington Rd. traffic is heavy.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 12/03/12 - 05:19 pm
0
0
Augusta's traffic engineers
Unpublished

must have gotten their training in the greater Atlanta area. Road rage is the norm here.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Kettle donations rise in 2014

After a disappointing showing last year, donations to the Salvation Army's local Red Kettle Campaign have risen nearly 20 percent in 2014.
Search Augusta jobs