TxDoT OKSs request to remove downtown signal lights

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Feb. 13, 2008 - The traffic signals on the west side of downtown will be coming down soon.

The Texas Department of Transportation has completed a traffic study requested by the city of Sulphur Springs and determined the signal lights on Davis Street at the intersections of Connally Street and Main Street are not needed.

"We just didn't have enough traffic to warrant signals there, and according to the city, it will work better with their plans if they lights aren't tere," Ernest Teague, area engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation office in Sulphur Springs.

The traffic signals have been inoperative for about two months while the state transportation department studied traffic patterns at the two intersections.

City officials requested the study last fall after plans to redesign Main Street were presented. The plans were mapped out to make the area more aesthetically pleasing and to entice more shoppers to the area.

One of the main components of the new design is to make Main Street -- and ultimately all of the downtown area -- more pedestrian friendly. The traffic signals worked against that theory, however, giving motorists who see a green light incentive to speed up to get through the intersection before the signal changes to red.

Stop signs, conversely, generally encourage drivers to begin slowing down sooner and should calm down traffic in the area.

The functional design of the traffic lights, along with the accompanying hardware such as supporting poles and controller boxes, could also hardly be called pleasing to the eye. Their removal, coupled with another measure recently approved to put overhead utility lines underground, should give Main Street cleaner, more pleasing visual lines.

Teague said the traffic signals "should come down pretty quick." One crew will need to schedule a time to take down the traffic light "heads," and the local maintenance office can then bring out the jackhammers to start the process of removing the metal poles that support the traffic lights and controller boxes.

Teagu and Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell both said the work will likely be completed within the next two weeks.

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK

News-Telegram Managing Editor

The traffic signals on the west side of downtown will be coming down soon.

The Texas Department of Transportation has completed a traffic study requested by the city of Sulphur Springs and determined the signal lights on Davis Street at the intersections of Connally Street and Main Street are not needed.

"We just didn't have enough traffic to warrant signals there, and according to the city, it will work better with their plans if they lights aren't there," Ernest Teague, area engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation office in Sulphur Springs.

The traffic signals have been inoperative for about two months while the state transportation department studied traffic patterns at the two intersections.

City officials requested the study last fall after plans to redesign Main Street were presented. The plans were mapped out to make the area more aesthetically pleasing and to entice more shoppers to the area.

One of the main components of the new design is to make Main Street -- and ultimately all of the downtown area -- more pedestrian friendly. The traffic signals worked against that theory, however, giving motorists who see a green light incentive to speed up to get through the intersection before the signal changes to red.

Stop signs, conversely, generally encourage drivers to begin slowing down sooner and should calm down traffic in the area.

The functional design of the traffic lights, along with the accompanying hardware such as supporting poles and controller boxes, could also hardly be called pleasing to the eye. Their removal, coupled with another measure recently approved to put overhead utility lines underground, should give Main Street cleaner, more pleasing visual lines.

Teague said the traffic signals "should come down pretty quick." One crew will need to schedule a time to take down the traffic light "heads," and the local maintenance office can then bring out the jackhammers to start the process of removing the metal poles that support the traffic lights and controller boxes.

Teague and Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell both said the work will likely be completed within the next two weeks.

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