Cedar Rapids to Study Getting Rid of Downtown Stop Lights

By Rick Smith

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By Adam Carros

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Traffic signals may be coming down in favor of four-way stop signs in the core of the downtown yet.

The City Council on Tuesday, without comment, agreed to hire AECOM Technical Services Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., to provide an analysis of existing and anticipated traffic patterns in the downtown and provide recommendations about the ramifications of removing some or all existing traffic signals.

The cost of analysis is not to exceed $44,811.

The work by AECOM follows up on a recommendation by another consultant, Speck & Associates of Washington, D.C., which late last year recommended that the city consider removing traffic signals downtown and reconfiguring downtown streets.

The City Council has talked for a number of years about converting Second through Fifth avenues in the downtown from one-way to two-way streets.

In December, consultant Jeff Speck told the City Council that doing away with most traffic signals downtown would favor pedestrians over motorists. He said motorists actually prefer four-way stops to traffic lights because they don’t have to sit and idle while waiting for lights to change.

In addition, by moving to four-way stops, the city can save money required to change traffic signals to accommodate two-way streets. The savings would allow the city to pay for new rail crossings guards, which would be required for two-way streets. The cost to change rail crossing guards — estimated at $250,000 at each avenue — has prevented the council in the past from changing from one ways to two ways in the downtown.

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