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Traffic light changes downtown have some complaining

Recent traffic signal optimization provides pedestrians with a couple of extra seconds to cross streets. At the same time, however, the time span for green lights for vehicular traffic has been cut short, with traffic snarls reported. The city is asking for patience from drivers as it works through the process.
traffic lights

The City of Kamloops is dealing with complaints that echo lyrics, though not the sentiment, of Roxanne by The Police: “You don’t have to put on the red light.”

Coun. Bill Sarai has heard numerous complaints in the wake of traffic optimization downtown aimed at making the area safer for pedestrians. Sarai said recent traffic signal optimization provides pedestrians with a couple of extra seconds to cross streets.

At the same time, however, the time span for green lights for vehicular traffic has been cut short.

An intersection — Victoria Street and Fourth Avenue was commonly reported — that once allowed several vehicles through a green light now lets a limited number of vehicles to pass before the light turns.

The red light race is leading to traffic snarls in the downtown core.

“It’s frustrating drivers, it’s causing safety issues because you’ve got drivers that are turning left and are stuck in the middle of the intersection, with people trying to get around thinking they’ve got five or six or seven seconds to make their way down there,” Sarai said.

“Then, all of a sudden, they get there and the lights are turning, so they boot it through the intersection and that’s not safe.”

In addition, Sarai said Lansdowne Street was not synchronized similar to that of Seymour Street, where drivers can travel at the speed limit and flow through a green wave of lights without stopping at a red light.

Sarai raised the issue of downtown traffic problems on Monday during the city’s civic operations committee meeting.

City CAO David Trawin said the optimization remains a work in progress.

The city’s transportation engineer, Purvez Irani, told KTW it is common during traffic signal optimization to require tweaks here and there. He noted optimization implemented on Seymour and Lansdowne streets is working well, but noted some congestion has resulted as a result of train warning signals.

In addition, he said, pedestrian intervals on Victoria Street are new and electricians are working with the manufacturers to increase green light timing.

“We’re working on that as we speak,” he said.

The city is asking for patience from drivers as it works through the process.