Mosby Light Mystery Solved

Ever gotten to the traffic light at the corner of Buckmarsh Street and Mosby Boulevard and wondered why it seems like the traffic light at the intersection seems to take forever to turn “green”?

If so, you’re not alone. But thanks to voter redistricting the answer is now clear.

Traffic delays are common at the intersection of Buckmarsh Street and Mosby Boulevard thanks to an easement issue related to placement of the traffic lights - Photo Edward Leonard

When the County voting districts were redesigned last year, Supervisor Barbara Byrd’s district, Russell, picked up several homes in the north-central section of Berryville including parts of Mosby Boulevard. When Mrs. Byrd made her customary rounds to greet the citizens on her newly appointed district, several people mentioned that the automated traffic light at Buckmarsh & Mosby didn’t always seem to work properly when cars were waiting to turn onto Buckmarsh.

Voters also asked why a road sign at the corner prohibited a right turn on red.

One of the first things on Mrs. Byrd’s agenda after being re-elected was to find out what was causing the mini-gridlock on Mosby Boulevard. So she asked VDOT to look into the issue.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting she got her answer.

“VDOT attempted to obtain a traffic light pole easement on the east side of Buckmarsh Street but was unable to get agreement from the landowner” said Virginia Department of Transportation area manager Edwin Carter. “Because the light is supported from the west side of the street the trigger area for the light is farther back along Mosby.”

Carter said that cars often drive beyond the trigger area preventing the traffic light sensor from knowing that a car is waiting to turn.

Carter told the Supervisors that there were two solutions. VDOT can attempt to approach the landowner again about the easement or the Supervisors could foot the bill to have the lights adjusted to make the traffic sensor more effective.

Carter also shed light on the right hand turn on red question.

“The hill to the north on the light on Buckmarsh Street doesn’t allow the line of sight distances to allow a safe right-hand turn on red” Carter said. “If you want to allow a turn on red at that light it would mean major excavation along the road there.”

While no action was taken on the sensor problem at today’s meeting there appeared to be little interest in a major excavation of North Buckmarsh Street.

“That would cost quite a bit of money” Carter said.


  1. Why do the “Supervisors….foot the bill” (county taxpayers) when the erection of the light and accompanying function (traffic sensor)- was VDOT’s responsibility? At least now I know not to creep up further at the intersection hoping the light will change but to hang back instead.

  2. Thats is the most absurd answer to the Right on Red question I have ever seen! I usually watch people go through it any way!!! Only in Berryville!!!

    • goodgracious says:

      And it’s the same view people have turning left onto Mosby on Green. You look, you go. Not rocket science.

    • VDOT uses ‘line of sight’ distances for various determinations. I believe they take speed limit and distance from initial sight of the vehicle while sitting at the light to the light to determine a safe braking distance.

  3. Stonebroke says:

    Worst light in the history of mankind! Also, when making a left turn in to the Food Lion, when you pull up the whole light disappears from view, so your sitting in the middle of the road not knowing what color the light is!…Horrible set up!

  4. It was never a problem making a right turn when there was no light there and it was just a stop sign. I still don’t see why it is a problem now that there is a light. I agree that the answer is absurd.

  5. doubleedge says:

    Activating traffic lights is not rocket science. VDOT paints lines in the roadway for a reason. If everyone were to line up properly at the stop line the light would work properly. It is also obvious that turning right on red at this intersection would be dangerous due to the stop line being so far back from the intersection and the limited sight distance from sbouth bound 340. Maybe if we spent a little less time on our cell phones and a little more time on driving we would get the hang of operating traffic light sensors.

    • benefitofthedoubt says:

      Agreed. I thought the stop sign was fine. Apparently some didn’t so we got a light. They tried to do it the “right” way but ran into property issues. So they put the pole where they could. The line is there. Stop on it and it will change. Drive past the line and be rewarded with a longer wait because you couldn’t follow simple instructions.

      I get a kick out of the article describing the light as “taking forever” and the “mini-gridlock” it causes. My impression is that the author was playfully making light (pun intended) of the subject. I would like to think the same is true about other comments including “worst light in the history of mankind”. And for the record, you shouldn’t be pulling up past the view of the light until it is clear and you are making the turn. I hope any disregard for traffic laws only costs you an inconvenience, and not your or someone else’s well being.

  6. My 2 Cents says:

    How about taking this light down? It causes more of as headache than whats it worth!

  7. Before retiring a year ago, I commuted from/to Old Chapel/Tysons Corner daily. When commuting home, I would use the Toll Road (267) and the Greenway to Leesburg without encountering any traffic lights. At Audley Farm, I reached the FIRST light. From there to Old Chapel, I was met with an additional four lights and this was all in approximately 2.5 miles!

  8. Thats an interesting response from VDOT and one I had not heard before. I wonder why they didn’t tell me that when I asked what provisions had been made for my driveway entrance at that intersection. As the landowner to the east I was not asked about an easement and was told that there were no provisions for my entrance and I should treat it as an uncontrolled intersection. You should see it from my angle. I’m sure the new answer would be that the design pre-dates my ownership….which is probably true. However the installation didn’t and my request for consideration of my entrance at the light pre-dates its installation. Of course now in order for me to do anything at that location the burden to resolve the issues are placed on me.

    I’m curious how a left turn into Mosby coming out of town is safe but a right turn into town which is farther away from the crest of the hill isn’t. VDOT logic?