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Simon Says: Woodbury’s Stoplights Could Be Timed Better

Pizza delivery driver Jordan Simon, a Woodbury grad and student at UW-Stout, has some ideas for improving the city’s traffic flow. What do you think of his suggestions?

Ever think the stoplights in Woodbury are poorly timed?

Jordan Simon thinks so. And he spends a lot of time on the roads.

Simon, 20, is a pizza delivery driver for , and works 30 hours a week there during the summer.

Otherwise he’s a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he’s studying applied science and biotechnology. The 2010 graduate also comes home from UW-Stout to work on weekends during the school year.

While traversing the city in his 2005 Honda Accord delivering pizzas for the past three years, Simon has formed some opinions on Woodbury’s stoplights—and has some tips on how to improve traffic flow.

“Maybe there’s not a way to fix it, but I just feel like something could be done,” said Simon, who has lived in Woodbury his entire life.

Specifically...

Simon provided Patch with a list of his issues:

County Road 19/Woodbury Drive and County Road 16/Valley Creek. Light is too short for east- and westbound traffic on Valley Creek. Traffic gets extremely backed up, takes a few rotations to get through when rush hour traffic. If emergency vehicle drives through, entire light resets and doesn’t change for many minutes. Also, at night, only one way gets a light sometimes and the opposite direction has to wait for another rotation. Possible lane extension for westbound Valley Creek traffic (if room/if possible). Gets even more backed up when the light doesn’t change or last long.

Park Crossing/Eagle Valley and County Road 19/Woodbury Drive. Skips east- and westbound traffic on Park Crossing/Eagle Valley. Turn arrow goes, and then goes back to north-south traffic on County Road 19/Woodbury Drive, even if other traffic isn’t there. Takes too long to change as well. Traffic on Eagle Valley/Park Crossing gets really backed up.

Pinehurst Road and County Road 13/Radio Drive. Light takes way too long to change. Sit there for minutes. A lot of traffic is routed through Donegal, annoying to neighbors. Will not change for turn lane or Pinehurst traffic. Avoid at all costs.

I feel like a lot of times when driving across town, especially on Valley Creek/County Road 19 the lights are either all green, or all red. A matter of getting across town in 5 minutes versus 15 minutes.

Lake Road and County Road 19/Woodbury Drive is honestly my FAVORITE light in the entire city. I wish there was a turn lane so people don’t hog the entire HUGE lane for westbound traffic on Lake Road. It can easily be painted in, not sure if there is room for extension, or if it’s worth it because of the future road extension to four lanes on 19, but at least dedicate half of that lane to a right-hand turn lane to go northbound on 19.

What Do You Think?

Simon initially approached Patch about getting contact information for city and county transportation officials.

While he has yet to contact anyone, he said it might make sense to see what the rest of Woodbury thinks first. (He noted .)

So, does anything stand out to you? Give us your feedback (or thoughts of your own) in the comments section below.

Lastly 

On roundabouts, Simon said they should function well, but people still have trouble navigating them.

“I feel like it would be more efficient than what they have now,” he said.

And on traffic in general: “It’s kind of like the weather—it’s something to talk about.”

Finally: "I've never been pulled over, but I've been lucky."

 

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Jolene S. T. June 25, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Yes! I live near the east end of Valley Creek Road (past 19) and used to work near the west end. Travel down that road is completely unpredictable. There were days when, if an emergency vehicle changed the lights, my co-workers from Hudson had a shorter door-to-door commute than I did. My drive-time to and from 494 has varied between 10 and 30 (yes, 30!) minutes. It shouldn't take that long to shuttle residents through the city. My extended family nearly always complains about the lights when they come to visit, and my brother-in-law has actually removed Woodbury from his home search, citing the slow drive between potential homesites and the freeway as the main deterrent.
Michelle Scheuermann June 25, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I agree about Eagle Valley and Woodbury Drive. When the school lets out - you could sit there for 2-3 rotations! And the Woodbury Drive traffic light goes on and on and on...Plus - many people EXPECT you to turn on Woodbury Drive if you are on Eagle Valley/Park Crossing - so when people go straight you have a recipe for accidents - is there room for a turnlane?
BClark June 25, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I agree 100% the timing could be much improved. I have often wondered if the person in charge has ever driven these roads. Do they have a degree? This should be very simple, set all timing around the 3 roads that move most of the traffic through Woodbury. 3 roads that's it, Radio, Valley Creek & Woodbury Dr. Once you have a green light on any of these 3, if you travel at speed limit, you should hit all green lights. How hard is it to time 3 roads?
Kris Janisch June 25, 2012 at 04:19 PM
When I'm heading north on Radio from Valley Creek Road to the freeway I either hit every green or I have to stop at every light. It seems like if I'd just left 30 seconds earlier or later it makes a difference.
Robin June 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I totally agree this is one of my biggest issue with Woodbury. (there are many issues with Woodbury) They are the worse I have ever seen. You never know if you should leave 10 min or 30 min.
Robin June 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM
totally agree this is one of my biggest issue with Woodbury. (there are many issues with Woodbury) They are the worse I have ever seen. You never know if you should leave 10 min or 30 min.
Susan June 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
First..kudos to this young man for calling out a problem that seems to be a common one in Woodbury. The traffic lights in this town are an embarrassment to our community and the official that keeps saying they are working correctly needs to be replaced by someone that understands the frustrations of driving through Woodbury. May I suggest Jordan Simon? Many times I have timed how long I've been stuck at a light in this town. What else is there to do when waiting? The longest, turning left onto Pinehurst from Radio. I waited 10 minutes for the arrow before I took matters in my own hands. (Come to your own conclusion there). In this day and age who has time to sit at a light for 10 minutes? And don't even get me talking about Valley Creek and Queens Drive in front of Target, I want to keep this post clean. With the irresponsible manner in which these lights are timed it's no wonder cars are zipping through side streets and running red lights. But yet we are told, every now and then, that the lights were inspected and are fine. Wrong. Take it from a 20 year old student that delivers pizza...he would know. By the looks of it he has the support of a whole lot of frustrated Woodbury drivers too!
Paul Whackernutz June 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Jordan, don't mean to burst your bubble, but your "favorite" light at Lake and Woodbury Dr is not long for this world, destined to be replaced by a "new and improved" roundabout. (Ironically, that should make things worse at Valley Crossing since the flow on 19 will be constant; that's what roundabouts do.)
DeAnn P June 25, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I hate all of the lights along Lake Rd. Heading west from the junior high toward 494 can take as few as 7-8 minutes or as many as 20 minutes depending on if you hit the lights or not. The light at Woodlane is the worst - only 2 lane going westbound as the others are turn lanes. People wait until the last minute to get in to the lane to go straight and the light is way to short during rush hour - we have sat through it for 2-3 cycles before. Especially when school is in session!
Jordan Simon June 25, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Paul W - I am aware it will be replaced, which is a huge disappointment. But I hope that we will be able to fix other lights in town to make a new favorite
Matthew Johnson June 25, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Bailey road rules.
Kris Janisch June 25, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Jordan also said he likes Lake Road. And I like Bailey too Matt.
Kelly L June 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I would love to see a turn lane onto Woodbury Drive/County Road 19 from Valley Creek (heading north on Woodbury Drive), by Carbones and Holiday. Oftentimes, I'm stuck behind one car going straight (crossing Woodbury Drive) while I'm waiting to turn right onto Woodbury Drive, even though there is no cross-traffic on Woodbury Drive. Very frustrating. And during rush hour, since there is no turn lane, people can wait through three or four lights to get through the intersection because traffic backs up so quickly. There are turn lanes at all of the other spots of that intersection; why not northbound on 19 from Valley Creek?
Jordan Simon June 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Kelly, working for carbones, I know EXACTLY how you feel!
Joe Salmon June 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Nikki Z - you are correct! The left arrow into evergreen from Radio is maddening. I don't think we need speed bumps just fix he arrow at Pinehurst.
Joe Salmon June 26, 2012 at 12:08 AM
The arrow to Pinehurst off of Radio going north is maddening! No wonder people are driving thru residential neighborhoods! It probably takes longer but it feels better than sitting at a light waiting for the arrow to change with no traffic approaching. What happened to the new lights? Re roundabouts - I despise them.
SomeGuy June 26, 2012 at 02:03 AM
City engineers do a poor job, in regard to traffic flow in Woodbury. It is poorly, poorly managed, leading to drivers taking matters into their own hands and running lights in frustration. That only adds to other, prominent poor driving habits around here. The whole system requires assessment, preferably by an outside consultant (the U of M has a lab in Civil Engineering looking for projects and likely unbiased).
Jolene S. T. June 26, 2012 at 02:53 AM
I completely agree. There's room for a turn lane, so why is it missing? If I'm not turning off of Valley Creek Road, I try to avoid the right lane at that intersection in the hope that it will allow someone else to use that lane to turn right onto Woodbury Drive.
Kris Janisch June 26, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I think the lights Simon references are mostly controlled by the county.
SomeGuy June 26, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Point taken. Still, whomever is in charge of managing Woodbury's traffic needs to revisit the entire plan and very soon, as evidenced by this and other recent stories you have written. This really cannot wait. It is impacting safety and commerce.
Kris Janisch June 26, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Yeah, I remember one of the first stories I did here in Woodbury, about roundabouts, and the city's traffic officer mentioned that there are a lot of stoplights in town. Maybe it's just the sheer number that leads to issues?
Parent of 3 June 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Vicki Strong- You are absolutely correct about the increased traffic created by the Pinehurst light. Four years ago we moved FROM Fallbrook Lane because after repeated contacts with the city and the police about cars speeding down Fallbrook to avoid the Pinehurst light, we finally decided that our peace of mind ( we have 3 small children) was more important. NONE of our concerns were ever addressed by either entity.
Andrea June 29, 2012 at 03:33 AM
This is a frequent topic of conversation in our family. From where we used to live it could take us up to 15 minutes, and at least 10, just to get to the freeway (about 3.5 miles). I work a few days a week in downtown Minneapolis and it felt like half of my commute was just getting out of Woodbury. It was actually a large factor when we moved to a different neighborhood. Now we're closer to the freeway but traded off being close to the rest of Woodbury's amenities. My husband says this might have changed since we moved to a different neighborhood, but our personal pet peeve was turning left from Radio Dr (heading north) onto Valley Creek (heading west). It is (was?) almost impossible to make the left turn on the first try because of how it's timed with the stoplight just south (by the Kowalskis/YMCA). We often hit both lights for a full cycle. The other pet peeve is going is just going straight up Radio. Usually hit at least every other light. Lake can be even worse, as others have mentioned, no matter which direction you're going. I really like the roundabouts for efficiency BUT I only drive through them in the right lanes and avoid them if I have to make a left turn simply because I don't think people are accustomed to watching for people who are in the left lane. Every time I've had someone completely not paying attention has been with someone else coming out of the left lane. I think they would be safer if they were single lanes.
Mike July 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
What drives me crazy about living in Woodbury are the left turn lights. I drive Radio drive a lot, and I can't believe how often large packs of cars are stopping and starting to allow a single car to turn left in front of them. It's an incredible waste of time and gas. Often times I'll want to turn left into and I'll find myself sitting and staring at a red left arrow when there's not a car around. Then I'll see a group of cars coming from the other direction, just in time to have to stop as my left arrow turns green allowing me to turn in front of them. I'm guessing the city would say it's a safety issue, but there are plenty of turns with no lights at all along the same stretches of road and people seem to figure out how to safely turn left at those locations. Maddening!
Kris Janisch July 02, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Yeah, kind of along that line Mike, I'll see cars backed up in a lot of directions and nobody actually going through the light.
Tammy Baierl July 02, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Thanks to Jordan for bringing this topic up for discussion and to the Patch for allowing constructive comments by the citizens who drive in this community! I have lived in Woodbury for nearly 20 years. I love our community, it's a wonderful place to raise a family...but...I loathe the traffic light situation. It takes me nearly as long to drive two miles to get out of Woodbury as it does to drive 11 miles to work once I leave Woodbury. If the city would allow drivers to yield when making turns on green lights rather than forcing them to wait for arrows, it would ease a lot of driving frustration within the city and save gas in vehicles that sit idling at lights. At least during non rush hour times a flashing yellow caution arrow would be greatly appreciated. I have seen a couple of them in the city and have used them. They work great!
Kris Janisch July 02, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I think there are flashing yellows planned for a few lights in Woodbury. I saw a "City of Woodbury Engineering" handle for a Patch user. Maybe they know which ones and when.
Elroy Baierl July 02, 2012 at 03:48 PM
There is NO other place in the country that has lights like the ones in Woodbury and thats NOT a good thing.
Craig Muckler April 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM
I loved to Woodbury from Eaqan last year. I have never seen red lights that just hang on forever than here. I lived in LA for years and nothing like Woodbury. Whoever is in charge of light changing times have to do it better. I see more people running red lights here than anywhere in the Twin Cities because they all know it could take 10 minutes before a green comes on!
Kris Janisch April 29, 2013 at 02:05 PM
I think the county is planning to redo the timing of the lights along Valley Creek Road, if that helps.

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