I have traveled Williston Road through the intersection with Dorset Street almost daily for over 30 years and have repeatedly witnessed the poor, unsafe and contradictory way the traffic lights are timed.

For this discussion, I will use the following references:

The traffic light at Williston Road and Dorset Street is Williston-Dorset.

The traffic light at Williston Road and the Interstate 89 exit 14E is Williston-I89 (about 100 feet west of Williston-Dorset).

Heading east on Williston Road at Williston-I89 there are three lanes to be designated as Williston-I89 right, Williston-I89 center and Williston-I89 left, each with a dedicated traffic signal.

Direction of travel will be denoted as Williston-Dorset east when driving through the Williston-Dorset intersection heading east, etc.

The 100-foot sections of the left and center lanes of Williston Road between Williston-I89 and Williston-Dorset will be referred to the Section.

Problems with current timing

Every traffic light cycle, it happens that the Williston-I89 right light is green while the Williston-I89 left and center lights are red. Due to the right lane’s green light, no traffic can enter the Section, so why are cars stopped unnecessarily in the Williston-I89 left and center lanes?

Then the Williston-Dorset east lights change to red seconds after the Williston-I89 left and center lights turn green. This allows about eight cars per lane to fill the Section. Next the Williston-I89 left and center lights turn red while the Williston-Dorset lights are green, letting just those 16 cars through. This 16-cars-per-traffic-light-cycle often occurs at the afternoon rush hour, causing traffic to back up to Staples Plaza or even to the jug-handle, all because of careless timing of the traffic lights at Williston-Dorset and Williston-I89.

The right turn light at Williston-Dorset east (Williston onto Dorset) is green at poorly chosen times. That light and the Williston-Dorset west light turning onto Dorset are green at the same time. Cars turning right at Williston-Dorset east will need to get into the middle lane if they do not wish to go to the U-mall and will need to get into the left lane if they are headed to the Barnes and Noble mall. Cars turning left from Williston-Dorset west onto Dorset may want to get quickly into the right lane on Dorset to use the shortcut lane into the U-mall. Vehicles from both directions now have simultaneous green lights, resulting in dangerous conditions in the midst of sometimes heavy traffic.

There are strange choices for the Williston-Dorset light for Dorset Street cars turning left onto Williston Road or going straight to Holiday Inn. The light is initially a green left arrow. So cars wishing to go straight into Holiday Inn should wait until the light turns solid green, as it eventually does. (Drivers realize it is not reasonable to sit there blocking the intersection and illegally go straight on the left arrow.) Furthermore, the right turn light Dorset-to-Williston is still red. Why? Left, straight and right are compatible at the same time. Also, the right turn light Dorset onto Williston is red while the left turn Williston-to-Dorset is green. Why?

Suggested changes to the traffic lights

All three Williston-I89 east and both Williston-Dorset east lights should be green at the same time. This addresses problem 1. If possible, when turning these lights red, turn Williston-I89 east red about three seconds before turning Williston-Dorset east red. This will allow the Section to empty, creating space for the Interstate exit traffic to get onto Williston Road.

Conflict for the lane-changing goals in item 2 is completely eliminated by having the Williston-Dorset right east light red when (and only when) the Williston-Dorset west left turn light is green or when the Holiday Inn light is green. Necessary lane changes could then be done safely.

Replace the arrow lenses in the left and right turn lights at Williston-Dorset north (Dorset to Williston) with solid green lenses. Also that right turn light can be green when Williston-Dorset west left is green.

Please consider these changes. They would vastly improve traffic flow on Williston Road, save drivers time and gasoline, reduce auto emissions due to unneeded idling and, perhaps most importantly, make the intersections safer.

These issues were pointed out in much this way in April 2017 to Public Works Director/City Engineer Justin Rabidoux.

The response was that changes were coming soon and the issues were closed, even though almost nothing was done. Nothing substantive has happened in over three years.

It is time for Rabidoux to address these issues. Please contact him, preferably by email to establish a lasting record, to urge him to resolve the traffic flow and controls problems itemized here.

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