Urbana council considers traffic lights at Windsor-Race

Urbana council considers traffic lights at Windsor-Race

URBANA — City officials want to put traffic lights at Windsor Road and Race Street, and they'll ask the city council this week if they should move forward with the $205,000 project.

The installation would be part of the much larger Windsor Road improvement project, which includes a full rebuild of the road from Race Street to Philo Road. The project is expected to cost in excess of $5 million, and it is expected to kick off this summer with a $2.5 million state grant in hand.

The Urbana City Council will talk about adding traffic signals to the Race and Windsor intersection when it meets as the committee of the whole at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

Public Works Director Bill Gray said last week that the intersection is not in urgent need of traffic signals, but it likely will need them eventually, and it could be cheaper to do it in conjunction with the larger road project.

The existing four-way stop is unusual for that type of roadway, a city consultant found, and it is the only major intersection along Windsor Road between Neil Street and High Cross Road that doesn't have traffic lights.

The consultant also studied crash data between 2009 and 2013 in its analysis of whether the intersection warrants traffic signals. There were very few injury-producing crashes, but a relatively high number of crashes caused by a failure to yield or improper lane usage.

City officials say both of those kinds of crashes are common with four-way stops. The consultant said traffic lights would reduce the frequency of those accidents.

Traffic signals, city officials say, would also allow for more "green time" based on traffic demand and allow for more orderly movement of traffic through the intersection.

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Skepticity wrote on May 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

Maybe Urbana should hire a consultant to evaluate the intersection for a traffic circle?  Let us not miss an opportunity to spend more money in pursuit of the dreams of Her Honor...

After all, something other than a 4 way stop will eventually be needed, and it might be less expensive if we do it now, while Urbana is doing so well financially.

Lostinspace wrote on May 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Wouldn't a single 4-way traffic signal suspended over the intersection be sufficient?  It surely wouldn't cost $200,000.

constantly amazed wrote on May 27, 2014 at 8:05 am

There are Federal Standards on how traffic signals are done so that they are safe and consisant for place to place. I have not read the whole thing by any means but I don't think that would be "sufficient" to meet safety standards. The section on traffic lights is in part 4, it also covers when a traffic light is needed.

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/pdf_index.htm

Lostinspace wrote on May 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

Whew!  All that for a simple stop light?  But if the feds are going to pay for the needless complications...

You could hire someone to direct rush-hour traffic for 20 hours a week for 10 years for that amount of money.  With low maintenance costs.

sweet caroline wrote on May 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Even better, instead of hiring someone at $20,000 per year x 10 years to direct traffic, make it part of a community service program for people on probation. 

sweet caroline wrote on May 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I hate this stupid CAPTCHA system.  It ends up with duplicate comments.

pattsi wrote on June 01, 2014 at 10:06 am

The CUUATS plan is to move driving citizens to use certain streets to travel E-W, such as University, Windsor, Curtis, and make it so distasteful to use Springfield, Green, Florida. The theory is good, but the implementation is poor in that more and more stop lights are being installed; yet, the lights are not timed for certain speeds. This undermines the whole purpose of moving drivers to use the first group of streets. If these are to be the major E-W routes then these ought to be designed to enable traffic flow not driver frustration. We ought to emulate the late Henry Barnes who designed the one way system in Denver. I can drive east to west or west to east in Denver on one-way streets, timed lights for 32 mph, and mid block street lights in 15 minutes; whereas it takes me way over 15 minutes to drive from Mattis to Philo.

Information about Henry Barnes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Barnes_%28traffic_engineer%29

Lostinspace wrote on June 01, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Absolutely right.

And count the traffic signals at average, uncomplicated cross-street intersections.  There are four, even six signals (Curtis and Prospect, for example).  Do I need four or six red lights?  Why is there a need for more than one (or two, in case one malfunctions)?  We hear about budget shortfalls, and this is a very visible example of wasted tax-payer money.

My pet peeves are doing quite well, thank you.