Removal of downtown traffic signals sparks flier campaign

City officials say feedback about move has been limited

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
  • City officials say there will be a traffic study of the downtown corridor conducted in September.
  • Intersections must meet national standards to have traffic signals, according to city officials.
Some downtown Farmington merchants have mounted a campaign to encourage people to express their concerns about the removal of traffic signals from intersections in the district, including the one at Allen Avenue and Main Street.

FARMINGTON — A handful of downtown business owners have posted fliers regarding their concerns about the removal of traffic lights from some intersections.

Three traffic signals were removed last year along Main Street because traffic study data indicated the intersections did not meet the national standards to warrant signals, according to city officials. The signals were located at the intersections of Main Street and Allen, Locke and Court avenues.

The fliers posted in the windows at Brown's Shoe Fit Co., the Identity Inc. Community Center and Mikasa Japanese Cuisine, as well as other businesses, ask people if they think the intersection at Allen Avenue is more dangerous since the lights were removed last year. They also list contact numbers for city officials and ask concerned residents to contact the city.

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The Daily Times was unable to reach a Brown's Shoe Fit Co. owner Dan Sheesley for comment.

The fliers were created by Joseph Schrag, who rents office space at the intersection of Allen Avenue and Main Street. Schrag said he frequently sees pedestrians struggling to cross the road or nearly getting hit by cars.

A stoplight was removed last year from the intersection of Locke Avenue and Main Street in downtown Farmington.

City Manager Rob Mayes, whose contact information is listed on the fliers, said he has not received any calls since the fliers were displayed.  

"I am aware of two individuals expressing concern regarding the removal of the signal," he said in a text message, though he did not specify how he was made aware of those concerns.

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He said the city determines which intersections need traffic signals based on objective data gathered during formal traffic studies. He said the public works department reviewed traffic volume and speed.  

Public works director David Sypher said the city will do another traffic study in late September to determine if conditions have changed downtown and if traffic signals are needed to help pedestrians.

"We're not going to just ignore their comments, their concerns," he said. 

City officials are planning another downtown study in September to determine if traffic signals are needed to help pedestrians.

While Sypher's contact information is listed on the fliers, he said no one has called him about the intersections.

City Councilor Linda Rodgers said no one has mentioned the fliers to her, but she did receive a phone call over the weekend from a man who was concerned about one of the intersections after trying to cross the street with his family. Rodgers represents the downtown area and is listed on the fliers as a person to contact. 

Schrag said he walks across Main Street on a daily basis to take his children to the gym.

He said when a pedestrian tries to cross Main Street, one or two lanes of traffic will stop but other cars will keep going.

"You don't have a time when it's ever really safe to cross anymore," he said. 

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Sypher said Schrag's observations could be because pedestrians and drivers were used to having a traffic signal. He said some drivers could be continuing through the intersection without yielding to pedestrians because they are used to seeing people waiting at the corner for the signal to cross the street.

"It's just getting used to change," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.