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Printed from the Charlotte Observer - www.CharlotteObserver.com
Posted: Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2008

Too long. Too short. Repeat.

By Joe Marusak
Published in: Joe Marusak

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Mooresville is exploring whether some downtown traffic signals should be eliminated to ease access to the central business district.

Residents have complained for years about getting stuck at downtown traffic lights, some of which seem to take an unusually long time to turn green and then let only two or three cars through before turning red again. The problem seems particularly acute at railroad crossings along Main Street.

Some residents refuse to drive downtown because of the interminable lights, Planning Board Chairman John Dodson said at a town planning meeting last week.

The town's engineering department has started looking into the issue, Mooresville Transportation Planner Chris Bauer said at the meeting. Bauer said he already knows of some signal intersections worth studying as four-way stops.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has the final say on whether to remove signals, so the town will have to make its case through the data it compiles, Mayor Bill Thunberg said.

The information will include intersection traffic counts this summer and probably into the school season, Bauer said.

Town traffic engineer Tony Tagliaferri cautioned that much more study is required before any signals can be removed, although it's something he's interested in looking at.

Kim Saragoni, who is on the board of the Mooresville Downtown Commission, said Tagliaferri has kept the commission updated on the plans to improve downtown traffic.

Saragoni, of Four Corners Framing and Gallery on North Broad Street, said even minor traffic improvements can't happen downtown without state approval. That delays even the simplest of changes, she said, such as eliminating some “no right turn” signs at intersections.

Still, she said, downtown traffic is nowhere near the mess of N.C. 150, and “we're not lacking for business.”

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