City of Farmington removing six sets of traffic lights at intersections

The Farmington City Council voted unanimously on the project

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
The intersection of West Main Street and North Schwartz Avenue is one of six intersections in the city of Farmington which will have its traffic signals removed.
  • The Farmington City Council voted unanimously during an April 28 meeting to proceed with the removal of traffic signals at six intersections.
  • Those six intersections are not in compliance with the 2009 Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which are federal standards adopted by the city council.
  • It is possible the traffic signals could remain if some parameters are met including if the change causes an increase of vehicle crashes in the area.

FARMINGTON — The City of Farmington has started the process of removing six sets of traffic signals across the city due to the traffic lights not meeting standards to keep operating.

The study being conducted for the next couple of months will determine if the removal of the traffic signals could lead to an increase in vehicle crashes.

The Farmington City Council voted unanimously during an April 28 meeting to proceed with the removal of traffic signals at six intersections and shift the lights to signal flash for a minimum of 90 days, according to the council meeting minutes.

The six intersections are

  • Butler Avenue and East Ute Street
  • East Apache Street and North Dustin Avenue
  • West Apache Street and North Orchard Avenue
  • Sullivan Avenue and East 15th Street
  • West Main Street and North Schwartz Avenue
  • West Broadway and South Schwartz avenues

Those six intersections are not in compliance with the 2009 Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which are federal standards adopted by the city council.

Isaac Blueeyes, a traffic engineer for the City of Farmington, told The Daily Times those six sets of traffic signals did not meet nine “warrants” or certain thresholds to maintain the traffic signals.

The intersection of North Dustin Avenue and East Apache Street is one of six intersections in the city of Farmington which will have its traffic signals removed.

New Mexico guidelines for traffic lights

The affected intersections did not meet factors including safety considerations, spacing of traffic signals along with vehicle and pedestrian traffic volumes to warrant the traffic lights.

There are about 82 sets of traffic lights across the City of Farmington and traffic engineers study all the traffic lights within a three-year period, Blueeyes said.

The last removal of traffic lights was in 2016 when three sets of traffic signals were removed on Main Street in Downtown Farmington during the Complete Streets project.

The traffic signals at the six intersections were placed into flash mode by May 14 and will operate in this manner for at least 90 days.

The secondary streets will flash red, and the primary streets will flash yellow.

The Farmington Police Department took to its Facebook page on May 13, reminding citizens the yellow flashing lights mean to yield and red flashing lights mean to stop, and it should be treated as a stop sign.

The traffic signal at the intersection of San Juan Boulevard and Tucker Avenue were originally included on the list for removal. It was not included in the motion by city councilors.

Blueeyes said one of the reasons it was removed was concern for large commercial vehicles for businesses including Riley Industrial Services, which use Tucker Avenue to access San Juan Boulevard.

One of the “warrants” listed was for a school crossing, which is why East Apache Street and North Dustin Avenue was included following the demolition of the old Tibbetts Middle School.

The lights are set to be in flash mode until Aug 12, when the traffic signal removal will begin.

It is possible the traffic signals could remain if some parameters are met including if the change causes an increase of vehicle crashes in the area, according to Blueeyes.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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