WARREN Signaling progress in traffic

A new system of traffic signals will make travel in Warren easier, an official says.
WARREN -- Joe Miller says he knows how frustrating it can be to travel some city streets during peak hours.
Still, he says Warren has it pretty good when stacked up against larger cities.
Miller, a sales representative at Title Professionals downtown, spends most of his days driving city streets between visits with Realtors and bankers.
Mornings and afternoons are the worst, he said, especially for those traveling East Market Street, one of the main thoroughfares leading downtown.
New system: The city is preparing for a federally funded $3 million project to study traffic signals and implement a loop signaling system.
David Robison, the city's director of engineering, said this means that traffic signals will be able to "talk to each other," sending signals that will help ease traffic woes.
The city received a federal Community Development Block Grant for the study, which will take into account traffic patterns, pedestrian counts and school cross walks.
The study will also determine which signals are unwarranted and where new ones need to be erected.
Once complete, Robison said, video cameras will be mounted on signal poles to gauge whether one or more cars are stopped at the light, and how a series of signals on a particular street need to be adjusted to unclog busy stretches.
Right now, some intersections in the city are equipped with sensors in the ground that tell when a car is stopped there.
Robison said he hopes to phase these out because they malfunction easily when road work is done or a waterline breaks.
Eventually, the new system will also be able to alert cameras at specific intersections that an emergency vehicle is approaching. Emergency vehicles will be equipped to send a message that alerts the approaching signal.
This will prompt the signal to turn red to stop cars from entering the intersection, making sure the ambulance, police car or firetruck has the right of way, Robison said.
He added that he and others may travel to Dayton to study its system.
Miller, who lives in Howland, said traffic gets backed up along East Market Street frequently, depending on the time and day of the week.
Problems: One problem he noted is that motorists can catch every red light along East Market because of the way signals are timed.
"Sometimes you can get lucky and get all green lights," he said.
Brian Massucci heads west on East Market Street to get to city hall, where he works in the personnel department.
"It doesn't bother me at all," he said, adding that he can't complain about his commute, especially since there are people who drive a lot farther, even to cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
City council will decide this week whether to authorize officials to advertise for bids for the system. Robison said construction could begin as early as spring.

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