FARRELL – If you’re speeding in Farrell, you’re going to pay the price, City Manager Ben Prescott says.
For years, Roemer Boulevard had regular traffic lights at Beechwood, Indiana and Spearman avenues. PennDOT changed those patterns to flashing lights in July.
Prescott said the city has been tracking speeding patterns since then, on a quest to make sure the flashing lights have not changed traffic patterns for the worse.
Based on that tracking, peak speed with regular traffic lights to be 70 mph. That increased to 82 mph westbound with the flashing lights, with similar speeds eastbound.
Average speeds along the street are a more reasonable 32 mph.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or who you’re related to, you’re going to be stopped in Farrell,” Prescott told council at its Monday meeting. “These speeds cannot exist.”
After a traffic study, PennDOT decided that stop signals were no longer needed at the three intersections because of decreased traffic on Roemer. The transportation department reset the signals to flash yellow for drivers on Roemer and red for drivers on the side streets, with stop signs on the side streets.
PennDOT began a 90-day trial period on July 9 for the new traffic controls. Drivers should treat the flashing red lights like a stop sign, advancing into the intersection only when there is no oncoming traffic. Drivers approaching the flashing yellow lights have right of way.
At the August city council meeting, residents complained that people were speeding now with the flashing lights.
PennDOT’s study showed that the traffic patterns do not support needing traffic lights because it did not show any additional traffic accidents.
This means that PennDOT will take down the traffic lights.
But with Prescott’s study done, he said the city needs to crack down on speeding along Roemer.
“We’re going to fix this problem,” Prescott said.
Prescott said the police department is stressed from not having enough personnel, but it will still dedicate a traffic detail at the intersections at random times.
Prescott said the best Farrell officials can hope for is to have four-way stops at the intersections. Councilman Robert Burich asked if the flashing lights can stay up for a bit and Prescott said he will ask PennDOT officials.
“Somebody’s going to get killed up there,” Burich said. “I just want to see if there’s an alternative.”
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