Traffic light removal plan spurs opposition

If the city doesn't remove the lights, it would likely lose federal money.
& lt;a & gt;By DENISE DICK & lt;/a & gt;
WARREN --Ralph Magliocca, owner of Dunkin Donuts on Youngstown Road, believes a plan to remove lights in different parts of the city will be a black eye for small businesses.
His store is at Willard Avenue Southeast, where the traffic light is to be removed as part of a state-administered project to update and synchronize the city's traffic signals and improve traffic flow.
"I think it's going to make this a dangerous place," Magliocca said Wednesday after a meeting of the city's traffic commission.
The Youngstown-Willard light is one of 27 traffic lights to be removed because it doesn't meet the warrants established by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Warrants include vehicle volume, school crossings, accidents, progressive movement and minimum pedestrian volume.
At least 150 vehicles per hour on a minor street and 500 vehicles per hour are required on a one-lane road.
Burgess and Niple of Columbus was the city's consultant for the project and conducted the traffic surveys.
"We instructed our consultant to challenge every traffic signal that the state said didn't meet the warrants," said William Totten, assistant city engineer. They used issues like sight distance and the proximity of schools, and some of the lights initially set for removal were kept. The 27 on the list didn't pass the challenges.
Because the project is being administered by the state and involves federal money, the city can't change it. "We have no say-so," said Fred Harris, service-safety director.
If the city doesn't remove the lights that don't meet the requirements, they would likely lose federal money for the project, Totten said.
If the city doesn't remove a light where ODOT said warrants aren't met, the city could be liable for accidents that occur there, said Councilman Alford L. Novak, D-2nd, a traffic commission member.
Magliocca also questioned the traffic counts. From customer counts, the business owner said he gets between 300 and 500 people pulling off Willard in to the shop between 7 a.m. and noon.
The Rev. Charles Crumbley and Duane Ulery of St. James Church, which is also near the Youngstown Road-Willard Avenue intersection, also questioned the numbers. "I can tell you that we have 1,800 to 2,300 people every weekend at St. James Church," Father Crumbley said.
Ulery and Father Crumbley also worry about elderly people who cross the street to go to businesses in the area, children going to school and the influx of vehicles for funerals at the church.
"When you're making a left turn you better hope that God is your co-pilot," Ulery said.
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