Removing downtown traffic lights is not a good idea

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 16 2012 | 11:28 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:24 am in
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According to the Dec. 13 article, “Removing traffic lights put in mix for downtown C.R.,” the City Council may consider the removal of traffic lights in the core of downtown. This proposal came from Jeff Speck, a D.C. consultant. (Why we are using a D.C. consultant is beyond me!) Speck is admittedly not a traffic engineer and is not acquainted with local traffic patterns. However, being from D.C., this characteristically would not prevent Speck from recommending changes that seem to benefit realtors and developers more than the populace.

For years, the city traffic engineer has wisely coordinated traffic signals to efficiently move traffic through downtown. Speck’s claim that four-way stops, with pedestrians crossing at will, is more efficient than waiting for the light to change is a false premise. He shows no consideration for through traffic that will be further restricted in a city with limited river crossings.

Pedestrians crossing at will, and drivers hesitating while deciding right of way, are not conducive to moving traffic. Through traffic will avoid four-way stops and divert to First Avenue where increased traffic will further hinder effective movement of traffic. If traffic lights are removed and it proves to be a disaster, what will be the cost to restore the lights? We need to engage consultants with common sense and familiarity with local needs.

Ronald Boyer

Cedar Rapids

 

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