Removing signals and future traffic studies part of the plan
The City of McAllen Traffic Operations Division has begun to identify traffic signals that may no longer be necessary due to new city development and change in traffic patterns that reflect new routes where neighborhoods, schools and commerce are now concentrated. In some instances, this now means removing traffic lights to increase mobility be decreasing delays for the traveling motorists.
Before decommissioning a traffic signal, the City of McAllen Traffic Operations will conduct a signal warrant. If the signal is no longer warranted, for example, if the destination point no longer exists, then staff presents this to the Traffic Commission, with a subsequent notice to McAllen City Commissioners. The identified traffic signal will then be placed on flash for 90 days – in particular, amber flash for major streets – and then the traffic signal and infrastructure will be removed.
There are currently three identified intersections where a traffic signal will be removed:
6th Street at Hackberry Avenue
15th Street at Houston Avenue
16th Street at Houston Avenue
Additionally, Traffic Operations staff is conducting traffic studies at other locations to determine the need for removal of those traffic signals, as well. Those include:
10th Street corridor
23rd Street corrido
Comprehensive study of the downtown traffic signals
Traffic signals serve the simple primary purpose of facilitating safe movement of vehicles by avoiding collisions. However, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, if improperly placed or not necessary, traffic signals can also cause an increase in accident frequency, excessive delays, disobedience of signals and diversion of traffic to inadequate alternate routes.
Traffic signals are costlier than commonly realized, even though they represent a sound public investment when justified. A modern signal can cost taxpayers between $80,000 and $100,000. On top of this, there is the perpetual cost of electricity consumed in operating a traffic light for 24 hours a day. This cost now averages about $1,400 per year.
“We hope that we keep traffic flowing quickly and safely, whether it be parents driving children to school or to after-school activities, employees getting to work, or residents and visitors heading out to retail shops or restaurants throughout the city,” said McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E. “By reducing delays, motorists get to their desired destinations quicker and do not have to hassle through traffic.”