Study recommends elimination of Fifth Street light

No decision was made during Tuesday night’s Fulton City Council meeting, but the engineering firm hired to conduct a traffic study on Market Street at the intersections of Fifth and Fourth streets is recommending the city do away with the east-west facing stoplights at Fifth Street.

According to Paul Bertrand with George Butler and Associates, his firm “looked at the physical condition of the streets, traffic controllers, traffic volume, crash rates, and signal timings and operations,” while conducting the study during three peak periods — 7:30-8:30 a.m., 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Bertrand said the conclusion his firm came to was that the traffic volume through the Fifth Street intersection does not warrant a signal light.

“That side street traffic is much less than the volume on Fourth Street, where it’s four, five, six times higher than on Fifth Street,” he said. “With that in mind, you have to ask, do we really need to have a light there?”

The summary of the traffic report submitted to the council members states that “it is recommended to remove the signal at the intersection of Market Street with Fifth Street and replace it with stop control on the east and west approaches. While maintaining the signal at the intersection of Market Street with Fourth Street, signal timings should be revised to improve the operation of this intersection during peak periods.”

Bertrand said the way such a situation generally is handled is by covering the traffic lights in question and testing the suggested solution for a few months before making permanent changes.

Ward 1 Councilman Wayne Chailland questioned what kind of an impact taking out the traffic signal would have on pedestrian traffic at that intersection — a concern that was echoed by several other council members.

“It would be like any other stop-sign controlled intersection — they would look for a gap (in traffic) and cross the street,” Bertrand responded. “Once their foot is in the roadway, traffic is supposed to stop.”

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