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Traffic light takedown

Engineers recommend removing signals in downtown Fort Dodge

August 9, 2011
By BILL SHEA, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Many of the traffic lights in downtown Fort Dodge should be removed over the next decade, the city's engineering staff has recommended in the wake of a test in which some of those lights were shut off or switched to a blinking red format earlier this summer.

That proposal was submitted to the City Council Monday by Scott Meinders, a civil engineer for the city.

While making the proposal, Meinders said that 60 percent of the people who responded to an online survey indicated that traffic conditions downtown were not improved while the test was under way in May and June. But he said many of their concerns can be addressed as the traffic lights are gradually removed.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Jesse Helling
A series of traffic lights are visible on Central Avenue, looking east. A recent test sought to determine if the signals are necessary. After reviewing a survey, which was presented to the Fort Dodge City Council Monday, Scott Meinders, a civil engineer for the city, recommended that downtown traffic lights gradually be removed over the next decade.

Under the proposal, traffic lights located where Central Avenue intersects with Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets would be removed.

Also, lights at First Avenue South and South 10th Street would be removed.

Along First Avenue North, the lights at North Seventh, Eighth, 10th and 12th streets would be removed, according to the plan.

Mayor Matt Bemrich said he would prefer keeping traffic lights at the intersection of First Avenue North and North 12th Street. He said visibility is limited at that intersection by vehicles parked on North 12th Street.

Meinders said the survey asked if traffic lights should be kept at any intersections, and First Avenue North and 12th Street emerged as ''the highest vote-getter.''

He said 282 people participated in the survey.

The council took no action on removing the traffic signals Monday. Meinders said the work would be done in conjunction with other street projects.

The traffic light test was conducted between May 16 and June 20.

''I thought it was noticeably more efficient to get through the downtown area,'' Councilman Kelly Hindman said of the testing period.

There were three traffic crashes at intersections involved in the test, according to Meinders. He said two of them occurred at First Avenue North and North Seventh Street.

Contact Bill Shea at (515) 73-2141 or



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