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Road Sage for January 21, 2012

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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
The signal at Runnion Avenue and Main Street will get traffic sensors to alleviate unnecessary red lights.

Main signal fix gets green light

A traffic signal west of downtown isn’t being removed, but an upgrade should help improve traffic flow.

Q. I regularly get stopped at the light at the intersection of Main and Runnion. I am writing to implore you to lean on the appropriate authorities to change that light to a “blinking yellow” for east-west traffic on Main Street and a “blinking red” for the Runnion traffic (which, by the way, is somewhat of a hyperbole, as I often wonder if any traffic ever travels or has ever traveled through there, anyway). – Christopher LaPan

A. Well, Christopher, the city does plan to make changes at this intersection, but not exactly how you were hoping. It should help your commute regardless.

Shan Gunawardena, city traffic engineer, said signals are switched to flashing operations during times of low traffic. At Main and Runnion, these low levels occur between midnight and 6 a.m., when the signal is switched to flash yellow on Main and red on Runnion.

He said the signal resumes normal operation after 6 a.m. because, despite your experiences, there is enough traffic to warrant a signal. According to a traffic study conducted last year, Runnion gets about 3,100 vehicles a day at this intersection. By comparison, there are about 8,000 vehicles a day traveling on Main through the intersection.

One of the problems you are experiencing is the fact the signal is on a fixed rotation, meaning it switches regardless of traffic. I know these signals can be especially frustrating when they change despite no need to do so.

The good news is Gunawardena said the city has identified this intersection for an upgrade. When money becomes available, the city will install traffic sensors to allow the intersection to run more smoothly. This means the light will stay green on Main until a vehicle on Runnion appears or a pedestrian requests the signal to change for safe crossing.

Q. In the left southbound lane on Coldwater Road just south of Wallen Road, there is a problem with a seam. Can something be done to smooth it? – Janet Holloway

A. Good news, Janet; you should be getting a fix this year.

Gunawardena, with the city, said thanks to your request, the city found an asphalt seam that is unraveling in the road. The street department will mill and patch the area to fix the seam during the upcoming construction season.

Thanks for pointing out the problem and making this area safer for all drivers.

Radio Sage

This week’s audio question comes from V. Steffens, who asked about turning from Ludwig Road onto Coldwater Road. The segment originally aired Friday afternoon on WOWO and can be heard online at

Road Sage provides transportation knowledge, solves driving dilemmas and answers construction conundrums. It appears every Saturday. Email your questions to