The Staffordboro Boulevard Park & Ride lot in Garrisonville was expanded and redesigned to make life a little better for commuters.
But things might not be working out quite as planned. There appears to be a problem with slugging, the instant car pools formed to use the Interstate 95 express lanes for free.
Virginia Department of Transportation officials recently noticed morning backups at the designated slug pickup area, which was a new addition with the expanded North Stafford lot.
The line of traffic stretched through the lot and onto Staffordboro Boulevard.
Now the highway department is trying to figure out if the backups are a recurring problem, and, if so, what to do about it.
Along with watching the morning commute patterns, VDOT officials figured it would be a good idea to ask the slugs themselves.
Slugging is a unique community of commuters who share rides to and from work. Slugging started as a way for commuters to take advantage of the Interstate 95 high occupancy lanes, now the express lanes.
In order to find out what the slugs are experiencing, VDOT has launched an online survey, which can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/5RWNCCL.
“We’re looking at possibly making some changes” at the Staffordboro lot, said Kelly Hannon, local spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
She noted that there were mornings when the VDOT officials didn’t see the long lines.
The survey should help VDOT find out if the backups are a recurring problem or just a blip, she said.
Hannon added that the department also will continue monitoring the lot in the mornings.
The issue doesn’t come as a complete surprise.
Shortly after the new section of the Staffordboro lot opened in late October, some commuters pointed out to VDOT officials that there were problems with the designated slug pickup area that clogged traffic in the lot and on Staffordboro Boulevard.
It appears that more commuters are slugging since the opening of the I–95 express lanes in December.
Staffordboro is the most popular Fredericksburg-area commuter lot for slugs. The independent website slug-lines.com recently mentioned that there was interest in adding a new slug line at the lot.
The express lanes are appealing to slugs and solo drivers because vehicles carrying at least three people can use the electronically tolled lanes at no charge.
“We’ll be looking at everything—the cause and effect,” Hannon said. “We’re going to monitor it over the next few weeks.”