By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Another Clinton traffic light is being replaced by a four-way stop.
The intersection of South Fifth Street and Seventh Avenue South is the latest intersection to lose a traffic signal after traffic signal warrant analysis conducted by the city’s engineering department showed a four-way stop would be more appropriate.
Recently, the city has replaced the traffic signal at Fifth Street and Second Avenue South as well as Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue South.
“When those traffic signals were originally implemented, the intersections had a higher traffic count,” City Engineer Jason Craft said. “There are set standards for what warrants signalization. These don’t even come close.”
In addition to citing Clinton’s declining population, Craft said more drivers are choosing to drive along collector streets such as Bluff Boulevard.
According to Craft, the implementation of stop signs at the other intersections along Fifth Street has decreased the number of accidents at those locations and increased traffic flow efficiency.
“Research shows when a traffic signal is used when it’s not warranted, it actually creates an unsafe situation,” he said.
Drivers will see a series of changes at the intersection during the next year. The intersection is now marked as a four-way stop by flashing red lights on the current traffic signals. The city will be installing the stop signs soon but will keep the flashing signals in place until April 2013.
“We want to make sure it’s going to work OK before we remove the signals,” Craft said.
Once the signals are removed, solar powered flashing beacons like the ones on the other two four-way stop intersections along Fifth Street will be added to the stops signs.
Craft said by the end of 2013 those beacons will be removed from the new four-way stop intersections on Fifth Street and used at other intersections.
“This gives drivers time to get acclimated with the four-way stop,” he said. “We want to make sure to take every precaution.”