City removes traffic lights from Third Street

September 22 – Traffic lights go down at the intersection of Third Street and Choctaw Avenue.

City employees were working Wednesday to remove all four traffic lights at the downtown McAllister intersection.

The plans are to replace the traffic lights with stop signs at the four corners of the intersection. The four-way stop sign currently in the middle of the street must remain in place until the new four-way stop signs are installed on street corners.

Foreman George Estrada facility maintenance in McAllister used a bucket lift to get to traffic lights early Wednesday so he could unplug them. He lowered the separate device with a rope and pulley for chief gardener Robbie Patton and Cody Conner of the Gardens Department, who helped with the project. Then they loaded the covered traffic lights into the back of the truck.

The process that led to the removal of the lights began in August, when intermittent problems with broken traffic lights on Third Street and Choctaw Avenue led City Manager David Andren to instruct city employees to turn them off and go to the four-way stop sign. At the time, no decision was made about repairing the traffic lights at the intersection or keeping the four-stop permanently in place.

Andrin said he wanted to do a traffic count before making a decision. The city laid traffic-counting wires at the Third Junction and Choctaw as well as the intersection of Choctaw Street and Second Street in downtown McAllister, which already had four-way stop signs in place. .

“Over the course of four weeks, we looked at that,” Andrin said during his last city manager report. “It’s double on Second Street for what Third Street gets.”

Andrin said the average number of cars at Third Interchange and Choctaw Interchange was 1,500 vehicles per day, while Second and Choctaw averaged about 2,900 vehicles per day.

He said the city had also questioned merchants near Choctaw Street and the Third Street intersection, who had been in favor of removing traffic lights at the intersection.

“The merchants we spoke to were in favor of it,” he said – all of which led to his decision to remove city employees traffic lights at the third and Choctaw intersection.

Andreen said in August that before the city turned off the traffic lights, he had inadvertently passed red lights twice at the third and Choctaw intersection. He said he did not expect traffic lights at the intersection and emphasized that they were not set up for best visibility. Traffic lights at the intersection were installed individually on their own poles, which extended upwards from the sidewalks.

He previously told City Council members that he went to the scene in August when the traffic lights at the intersection stopped working. When he arrived, they were working again. Andreen said he left, but soon got another call that the traffic lights had again stopped working.

“It’s on and off,” Andrin said, which led to the decision to go ahead and shut off the traffic lights and put four-way stop lights in place while the city conducts a traffic census study.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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