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The Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) has been working with the National Park Service on ways to mitigate traffic backups that occur sporadically near the entrance to Great Falls Park at Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive.

The Park Service soon will deploy three variable-message signs, one of which will be in Great Falls, to alert would-be visitors about full parking lots and expected wait times before they reach Great Falls National Park, giving them the opportunity to delay their arrival temporarily or go elsewhere.

One of the signs will be located adjacent to the eastbound lane on Georgetown Pike in the center of Great Falls, across from the Great Falls Library. The Park Service will place the other two signs in McLean.

As there is no law or regulation regarding traffic-control signs on Virginia byways, and because these signs are temporary, the Park Service’s pilot initiative provides an opportunity to determine whether traffic near the park can be reduced, GFCA leaders said.

The signs will be lighted only when needed and will be turned off at night when the park is closed. The signs will be removed in the fall. As required by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), orange traffic barrels will be placed in front of the variable-message signs.

The signs will be similar to the one that the park has been using on Old Dominion Drive. At about 4.5 feet wide by 7.5 feet high, the solar-powered sign is smaller than the typical VDOT variable-message sign. At least one of the Park Service’s signs will have a camera to determine how far traffic is backing up. Park Service personnel will be able to change the signs’ messages remotely by using a cell phone.

GFCA’s Transportation Committee will be coordinating with Park Service and others in evaluating this pilot program. For additional information, or to comment, e-mail transportation@gfca.org.

The Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) has been working with the National Park Service on ways to mitigate traffic backups that occur sporadically near the entrance to Great Falls Park at Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive.

The Park Service soon will deploy three variable-message signs, one of which will be in Great Falls, to alert would-be visitors about full parking lots and expected wait times before they reach Great Falls National Park, giving them the opportunity to delay their arrival temporarily or go elsewhere.

One of the signs will be located adjacent to the eastbound lane on Georgetown Pike in the center of Great Falls, across from the Great Falls Library. The Park Service will place the other two signs in McLean.

As there is no law or regulation regarding traffic-control signs on Virginia byways, and because these signs are temporary, the Park Service’s pilot initiative provides an opportunity to determine whether traffic near the park can be reduced, GFCA leaders said.

The signs will be lighted only when needed and will be turned off at night when the park is closed. The signs will be removed in the fall. As required by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), orange traffic barrels will be placed in front of the variable-message signs.

The signs will be similar to the one that the park has been using on Old Dominion Drive. At about 4.5 feet wide by 7.5 feet high, the solar-powered sign is smaller than the typical VDOT variable-message sign. At least one of the Park Service’s signs will have a camera to determine how far traffic is backing up. Park Service personnel will be able to change the signs’ messages remotely by using a cell phone.

GFCA’s Transportation Committee will be coordinating with Park Service and others in evaluating this pilot program. For additional information, or to comment, e-mail transportation@gfca.org.

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