Signals or signs? Binghamton studies traffic light removal

By Erika Mahoney

July 26, 2013 Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 11:30 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Local drivers may have noticed new yellow signs dotting intersections along their routes alerting drivers to ongoing traffic studies.

More than two dozen will be studied for effectiveness during the next year.

"The signs that the public may be seeing now are the first in the evaluation process as to whether or not we can remove a signal," said Department of Public Works Deputy Commissioner Patrick Torrico.

The city is studying about 25 intersections to find out whether replacing the lights with stop signs would improve traffic flow.

The yellow signs will be up for thirty days, and then stop signs will be put in place for about a month.

During this time, the Department of Public Works will observe how the change affects traffic.

Torrico says the city's declining population has affected traffic patterns and it's time to adapt.

He also said using more stop signs will save money.

"We have some very old traffic signals in the city of Binghamton," Torrico said. "We have controllers that operate the lights, that have been there many, many years. And it's becoming very difficult to support."

According to Torrico , upgrading the controllers costs $15,000 each.

The two intersections in the early stages of review are at Washington and East Clinton streets and Leroy Street and Laurel Avenue.

A pastor at First Assembly of God on Washington Street is questioning whether money is being chosen over safety.

"I'm trying to figure out how, without a signal light, and just using stop signs, how that would work," said Pastor Randy Eliason. "There would be a concern it might not be as safe."

Eliason's thoughts paralleled residents living on Leroy Street.

"I think it's a good idea that intersections are being evaluated because I've seen many intersections that don't need a light and could do with a stop sign, but that's another ball of wax. But at this intersection, I think a traffic light is a better idea."

Torrico said they are taking feedback into high consideration.

Residents can offer their input by calling Torrico at (607) 772-7021.

The study is expected to last just over one year.