Lights Out

If the City of Warren elects to install a traffic light at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Liberty Street, it will be doing so completely on its own, city council learned at a work session on Monday.

In a letter dated May 22, PennDOT informed the city, “Our study results indicate that the warrants for the installation of a traffic signal at this intersection do not exist.”

City Council could still elect to install the light of its own volition, and the matter will be discussed at the June council meeting.

“At the request of the City of Warren an engineering and traffic study was conducted at the intersection…to determine if any warrants were satisfied for the installation of a traffic signal,” the letter reads. Citing adherence to federal and state standards for the placement of traffic control devices, PennDOT determined that a light is not required at the intersection.

Council approved a request for the traffic study in March. There was no charge to the city for the study.

If PennDOT had said the light was required, the city would have most likely had to reinstall it.

Cost estimates presented at the February council estimated the project at approximately $150,000.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said in March that the corner of the intersection by the main office of Northwest Savings Bank “hasn’t been touched.” He explained that, with the granite curbs and the heated sidewalk, estimates on that work range from $20,000 to $50,000.

The other side of the intersection, where the construction trailers are currently located, needs work as well.

“There’s $60,000 worth of concrete work alone,” Holtz said. He explained that the city has already purchased approximately $165,000 in parts for the traffic light.

Also in March, Councilman John Lewis said that a letter has been prepared and was to be sent to PennDOT for a traffic study at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Market Street. Lewis said that the study will review the left turn signal for motorists looking to turn from Pennsylvania Avenue onto Market Street.

A similar response was received from PennDOT regarding that request.

“As part of the traffic volume portion of the study, manual turning movement counts were taken during the morning, mid-day and evening peak hour,” a letter from PennDOT dated May 23 indicates. “The data collected from the manual turning movement counts showed that the left turn volumes for any of the approaches did not meet the criteria for signalization of the left turn movements. That includes the eastbound to northbound left turn that presently has a protected/prohibited left turn phase.”

PennDOT also said that five reportable accidents would be required to justify consideration of a signal and none have occurred in the last year.

“Sight distance from the turning lanes are good and there appears to be adequate gaps in the opposing traffic to allow vehicles making the left turn movement during each cycle,” the letter explained. “The results of the study indicated that the criteria for modification to the existing eastbound left phase or additional left turn phases for this intersection have not been satisfied.”