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Storm Lake Resident Again Requests Traffic Lights be Reinstalled at Lake Avenue/7th Street Intersection

December 08, 2021 10:01am

At Monday's Storm Lake City Council meeting, local resident Andrea Wickstrom again voiced concerns over the recently removed traffic lights at the intersection of Lake Avenue and 7th Street...(audio clip below  :38 )

Wickstrom also expressed concerns on the matter at the council meeting in early November. She said she was nearly struck by a vehicle while using the crosswalk, and once again asked for the traffic lights to be put back in operation at the intersection...(audio clip below  :14 )

At the council meeting a month ago, Storm Lake City Manager Keri Navratil said the lights were decommissioned following a study that began in May. A traffic safety committee determined that stop signs would work best at the intersection.

Plastics bags were put over the lights at Lake Avenue and 7th Street in mid-September. Navratil said the light poles would be removed entirely at some point.

Below is the summary of the traffic committee meetings regarding the traffic light removal... 

"At the Traffic Committee meeting on May 12th, discussion took place regarding traffic flow through the 7th Street and Lake Avenue intersection.

Increasing traffic volumes at the intersection of Milwaukee and Lake Avenue have led to concerns regarding traffic flowing in a southerly direction on Lake Avenue through downtown.  Additionally, the potential for backing up traffic from 7th Street to Milwaukee and interfering with traffic flow on Milwaukee exists as well. 

At this time, the traffic signal was placed into flash mode for further observation. The north and south flow on Lake Avenue flashed yellow. The east west flow on 7th Street were placed in red flash mode. During the three months of observation, motorists generally adjust to the new traffic flow with the lights in flash mode. 

In August 2021, the Committee direction was to place stop signs on 7th Street with additional signage that cross traffic (on Lake Avenue) does not stop. Traffic counts in a 24 hour period were observed on 7th Street to be 46 westbound and 3 eastbound. Subsequently, the traffic signal was covered with bags. Traffic continues to flow well. Some comments have been received from residents regarding the change to the signalization of the intersection. Concerns regarding pedestrian travel as well as a perceived increase in southbound speed were heard. 

The general flow of traffic has improved in the area. Traffic enforcement regarding the possible speed issue will be addressed. Removal of the light will be the last step.