Traffic Light Decision Delayed After Protests


Homeowners at Collins Avenue and Handy Street came up with so many reasons this week for not installing a traffic light that city officials agreed to delay a vote until June.

Some of the neighbors, a few of whom would lose parking spaces on the narrow street, challenged the city’s engineering staff Tuesday on everything from Collins’ designation as a “secondary arterial” to the relative safety of crossing at a light rather than a four-way stop.

After listening to the debate and studying a detailed list of scenarios, City Council members decided it was too much to absorb.


“We’re getting into land-use questions,” Mayor Joanne Coontz said. “We’re getting into speed questions. . . . I’m not comfortable making a decision on this today.”

Traffic experts said residents eventually will have to accept that the 14,000 cars using their streets every day can no longer be controlled with stop signs.

The best plan would be to install a light and add left-turn lanes, which would cost parking spaces but facilitate the flow of traffic, Public Works Director Harry W. Thomas said.

He acknowledged he did not have the expertise to judge whether the parking loss would diminish property values. But he and other engineers disagreed with neighbors who said traffic lights are more dangerous than stop signs for crossing. The homeowners were not convinced, however.

“It has turned into a racetrack,” Michael Cross said. “If you put in a light, they’ll shoot the yellow and red and our children won’t be safe.”

All of those issues will be answered when council members revisit the issue at their June 10 meeting.