Starting this Friday, the city’s Public Works Dept. is going to switch the signals on Commercial Ave. at 6th and 8th Streets over to blinking red, four-way stop intersections. The City will also install stop signs at these intersections.
The purpose of the project is pedestrian safety and traffic mobility.
A city news release says the current signal configuration with timed red and green phases during the day and flashing red and yellow at night is unique in Washington State.
“We have been warned that these signals are a liability as they are non-standard and do not meet the MUTCD (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices), the statewide standard for signage in Washington,” according to City Engineer Eric Shjarback.
He noted that the signals are not pedestrian-friendly as the current signals are not obvious to users of the sidewalk and unintentional jaywalking is common at these intersections.
Traffic studies have shown that with the very low volume of traffic on this part of Commercial Ave. the Level of Service (LOS) for the 4-way stop will stay at “LOS A” with a reduction in overall delay at the intersections including a reduction in delay on the side streets.
After much deliberation, as well as with the recommendation from the Traffic Safety Committee on August 18, 2015, the City will revise both signals to blink red in four directions for a four-way stop. This will make the two intersections standardized and understandable for all, especially pedestrians.