Why do we need four stoplights on Eighth Street between Maine and Broadway?

Drivers wait at a series of red lights Thursday at the intersections of Eighth and Vermont, Eighth and Hampshire, and Eighth and Maine. The stoplight remains at Eighth and Vermont because of high pedestrian traffic there. The city plans to better coordinate the timing of the signals after replacing the existing traffic controller at Eighth and Vermont later this year. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 21, 2017 12:01 am

Why do we need four stoplights on Eighth Street between Maine and Broadway? There is very little foot traffic at either intersection.

It's fair to say that traffic signals at Eighth and Maine and Eighth and Broadway will not be considered for removal in the near future because both intersections have large traffic volumes.

The city considered removing signals at Eighth and Vermont and temporarily shut down the lights in 2014 to consider permanently removing them.

However, the city received many complaints about the closure, especially from residents of Sunset Apartments, who said the light was needed to cross Eighth Street.

A pedestrian count conducted at the intersection after the signal was deactivated found 38 people sought to cross the street in an hour.

"(Restoring the traffic signal) was due mostly to the pedestrian traffic," Director of Utilities and Engineering Jeffrey Conte said. "It wasn't the auto traffic."

Conte said there currently are no plans to reduce the number of traffic signals at the intersection with Hampshire, where westbound traffic transitions from a one-way to a two-way street.

"That intersection, it is definitely needed," he said.

Though there are four traffic lights on Eighth between Broadway and Maine, until recently there had been a signal at Eighth Street's intersection with Jersey, as well. That signal was removed in 2014 after a traffic study conducted by the city indicated it was not needed.

In the future, Conte said, the city should be able to better coordinate the timing of the signals to improve traffic flow.

"The existing controller at Eighth and Vermont is not compatible, but we are going to replace it this year," he said. "We would like to get them tied together so they are synchronized."

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