The city has changed the timing of the traffic lights on popular Lead and Coal in an effort to get drivers to slow down.
Neighbors and nearby businesses say something has to be done.
“Since the ART construction, there’s always been an influx of additional traffic and that has escalated as far as the speed,” business owner Kevin Scanlan said.
Police also don’t have a hard time seeing the problem.
“APD spent a couple of days at the end of February at Lead/Coal neighborhood streets and they issued 300 citations in two days, just focused on traffic and speeding,” City Councilor Pat Davis said.
The city created a Lead/Coal Taskforce in recent months to help come up with more solutions.
“Last week, we made some changes to the green times on Lead and Coal avenues,” Johnny Chandler, Department of Municipal Development spokesperson, said.
That means the length of green lights are now reduced from 56 seconds to 41 seconds along Coal from University to Montclaire, and on Lead from Morningside to University.
The change is targeting a specific kind of speeder.
“They’ve been seeing speeders get onto Lead and Coal avenues and then speed up to catch up with the platoon of cars that is following the speed limit. If you go 30 mph on Lead and Coal, you will hit every green light,” Chandler added. “We believe it’s going to prevent people from catching up and will reduce speeding overall.”
Councilor Davis said he’s hopeful this will be the first step in solving a long-time problem in his district.
“This is a trial period. If it doesn’t solve the problem, then we sort of have to step up our response, and that’s going to include more traffic enforcement and technology solutions that might be different than just timing,” he said.
The city will conduct a traffic study later this fall to see if the timing of the lights is helping.
If it is, it will put up signs telling drivers that they’ll hit every green light by going 30 mph, the same signs that used to be up in the area years ago.
Davis said if needed, he’ll look at getting automatic lights that can track a speeder approaching an intersection and change the light to red to try to slow them down.