Traffic lights signal change

Traffic lights signal change A car makes a right turn from Main Street to Court Street in downtown Vermillion. Motorists must wait for the new traffic lights to turn green before making a right turn at the intersection. By David Lias New green poles and lights signal a change in downtown Vermillion.

Traffic patterns, particularly at the intersection of Main, Center and Court streets, have changed along with the modern signals on the new, decorative poles.

Local motorists no doubt have grown used to being able to make a right turn on red at that intersection.

That is no longer allowed.

"Right turns on red from Center or Court is now prohibited for safety reasons," said City Engineer Bill Welk. "This is important for motorists to understand since they are used to turning on red."

Welk notes that Center and Court streets cannot have green indications at the same time because of the intersection offset.

"When Court is green, Main and Center will be red," he said. "When Center is green, Main and Court will be red."

Welk also informs pedestrians to be aware of changes in downtown Vermillion, thanks to the new signals.

The crosswalk between the west side of Center Street and the east side of Court Street has been eliminated.

"If it wasn't eliminated, the lights would have to be programmed so that all vehicular traffic would have red lights and only pedestrians would be able to cross," he said. "While this seemed like a good idea for pedestrians, it shortened the green light time on Center and Court so much that only about one vehicle would get through and then the light would change."

Welk said city leaders prefer to eliminate one crosswalk and extend the green light time for Center and Court streets.

Here are other important facts about the new signals, courtesy of Welk's office:

* Approximate cost is $234,000.

* Approximate city share is $60,000.

* The state received federal hazard elimination funds based on accident statistics at these intersections.

* The city of Vermillion worked with the historic preservation committee to decide on a color and style for the poles to fit with the proposed streetscape plan.

* The new lights, except the amber, are LEDs (light emitting diodes) to reduce electrical costs and replacement labor costs.

* The new lights are 12 inches in diameter to meet regulations. The old lights were smaller.

* The mast arms and additional signal heads are required to meet regulations.

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