Traffic accidents and complaints prompted increased enforcement.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Red-light runners, beware. Niles police are stepping up enforcement at five intersections.
"It stems from accidents and from complaints that we've received," Police Chief Bruce Simeone said.
A little more than a month ago, the department stepped up enforcement at the intersections of Robbins Avenue with Hogarth Avenue and Summit Street.
Both intersections, situated close together, are marked with traffic lights, and the city is working to install one light to replace the two.
Enforcement also will be increased at Cedar Avenue and Robbins, Third and Main streets, Washington Avenue and state Route 46 and U.S. 422 and Route 46.
"We're trying to educate the public, and we've worked with the light department to set a lot of the lights with longer red all the way around," Simeone said. Having the lights signal red in all directions simultaneously clears the intersections.
"Some still crash it even with that," the chief said.
Penalties: Failing to yield at a red light is a misdemeanor traffic violation. If convicted, drivers may be fined and assessed points against their driving records.
The problem comes from people's overestimating the length of time a signal stays yellow, as well as from drivers who go through the intersection despite the red light.
"Sometimes you're moving up to the light as it changes, and you're already into the intersection," Simeone said.
The department will use state traffic enforcement grants as well as officers on regular patrol to zero in on the intersections.
Connection: A project is expected to start in the fall to link all of the city's traffic signals using a $1 million federal highway grant administered by the Eastgate Council of Regional Governments.
The plan is to link the majority of the traffic signals in the city and locate the system in city hall.
When the design is completed, the Columbus company that is designing the project must submit the plans to the Ohio Department of Transportation for approval.