Road Wizard 10/4/2019

Hey Road Wizard: I just have to say that the signal timing at Main Street and Fairview Avenue in the afternoon heading south/southeast on Whitewater Park Blvd. stinks. The light at Fairview goes to green just before the light at Main and there’s no way to get to Fairview in time to catch that green left turn….and then there’s a queue of vehicles sitting through that incredibly long light that favors Fairview. Is it possible to adjust the Fairview signal so that the queue sitting at Main St. can make that left turn without yet another loooong waiting period?? Amy
Main Street and Fairview Avenue carry significantly greater traffic volumes than Whitewater Park Boulevard almost all day, so the traffic signal operation is optimized to favor them. There is also a large amount of traffic leaving downtown via Main Street that turns left off of 27th Street, and the timing also takes this into consideration. With those operations, Whitewater Park Boulevard gets โ€œwhat is leftโ€ in the operation. This is what causes the increased wait time at Fairview Avenue after leaving Main Street.
After gazing into my Crystal Cone, ACHD Congestion Management has adjusted the operation for the PM Commute timing plan based off observations. This adjustment includes allowing a larger gap between vehicles to keep the signal green on Whitewater Park Boulevard at Fairview Avenue, along with a longer minimum green time. This allows more vehicles coming from Main Street to arrive while the signal is still green at Fairview Avenue.
Also, the sequence at Main Street has been adjusted so that the northbound left turn movement from Whitewater Park Boulevard goes after the southbound through movement. This allows the southbound vehicles to leave Main Street up to 15 seconds earlier than they were previously, which gives them an opportunity to arrive at Fairview Avenue more frequently while it is still green. This improvement appears to have helped so long as there is at least one vehicle waiting at Fairview Avenue.
Dear Road Wizard: I drive all over Boise 8 hours a day for work. I have noticed that on the bench several railroad crossings signs have been changed from a stop sign to a yield sign. Why all of a sudden has someone decided that we no longer need to stop at railroad crossings? DL
As a result of a 2019 change to Idaho Code, many stop signs at rail crossing were changed to yield signs by the Idaho Transportation Department and the rail company. ACHD is actively working with both agencies on this new change.