Addition by subtraction. Rockford city leaders think one near east-side street could be safer if traffic signals were taken out. Over the next two weeks, they're testing the theory.
Earlier this year, a city study looked at the need for traffic lights along a stretch of 7th Street, from 2nd Avenue to 6th Avenue.
"The traffic signals are no longer needed based on changes in traffic from when they were put in." -says City of Rockford Traffic Engineer Jeremy Carter.
Carter says those stoplights have been there for about five decades and they no longer meet federal standards. Upgrading the signals will cost roughly $100,000 per intersection. So, the city is looking at other options, like removing the stoplights. As part of a new study, signals flash red at 7th Street and 2nd Avenue, simulating a four-way stop. Plus, orange barrels act as bump-outs.
"They essentially put a curbed area where the parking lanes would be, making the road thinner. It's safer for pedestrians because there's less road to cross and it actually slows the traffic down because instead of it seeming like it's a very wide road, it seems thinner." -Carter explains.
If signals were removed, stop signs would also be put in.
"At the very least, all of the avenues would stop for 7th Street." -Carter says.
Before, during and after the study, city leaders say they check in with the neighborhood for feedback from groups like the Mid-Town District Association, plus business owners and residents.
"This is just how we do our projects. We engage the community and get their input on it. We're not designing in a vacuum."
Carter hopes this project can get started sometime next year.
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