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How the city of Twin Falls decided to remove a set of traffic lights

Posted at 7:49 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 09:34:05-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — For Twin Falls drivers who consistently travel along Second Avenue West going to and from work, you may have noticed a change recently.

The city decided to remove a set of traffic lights at the intersection of Second Avenue West and Fairfield Street North after conducting a study with the Idaho Transportation Department over 90 days, monitoring several different factors.

“We look at the pedestrian and vehicle traffic and then we also look at the historical data, collisions, or incidents that might involve pedestrians. We’ve had very, very, very few at that intersection,” said Joshua Palmer, Public Information Coordinator.

After analyzing the data, the city felt the location was unsuitable for the lights due to the low foot traffic, low vehicle traffic going across both directions at the intersection, and the minimal incident rate. Instead, there are now two stop signs on each side of Fairfield.

City officials also determined it wasn't helping drivers throughout the day.

“It was causing inefficiencies, and so when we talk about inefficiencies, we mean like traffic flow. You’d have a substantial number of vehicles, especially in the mornings, evenings, and noon that would be stuck at that light on Second Avenue, even though there was no cross traffic,” said Palmer.

The removal of the lights not only helps keep traffic moving but also lessens the chance of other potential mishaps or incidents.

“If somebody sees that maybe the signal is there because there is a lot of cross-traffic, it makes sense to stop," explained Twin Falls Police Traffic Unit Sgt. Ryan Howe. "If it’s an area where there is no real cross-traffic, and you’ve got a red light, somebody may not pay attention to that as much, and so we might get some rear end collisions.”

Despite the removal, Twin Falls Police and city officials still have some traffic tips for those driving on that route, encouraging drivers not to speed while going down Second Avenue West.

“If you’re traveling over the speed limit, it doesn’t give the cross-traffic ample time to react when they pull out or ample time to see you if you’re exceeding that speed limit,” said Sgt. Howe.