Downtown Attorney Steven Weaver says, "Some people are very in favor of it. Some people are very opposed to it." When the traffic signals at two downtown intersections went from steady to flashing lights, the public seemed to welcome the change.
Weaver continues, "Traffic really stops up at this intersection and the blinking lights allowed the traffic to move a lot more conveniently." Accidents are on the rise at the corners where Liberty meets Wolfe and Elizabeth Streets. There have been ten at those intersections since they went into flash mode three months ago. Other factors may have played a part in those crashes, but that number is a significant increase from the norm.
Drew Williams is the Harrisonburg Traffic Planner. He says, "There are roughly on average four to five accidents at year at those intersections."
Steven Weaver is an attorney at the law office damaged by Saturday's three-car collision. He says, "Whether it's a blinking red light or not, I think we have the same problem. People don't pay attention to the signs." More signs might help, but the city's public works department says it's hands are tied.
The blinking lights are more out of obligation than convenience. The federal government says that if there were regular traffic signals at these two intersections, the city could be responsible if any accidents took place there. One thing that could return these lights back to steady would be an increase in traffic and that would be good news for the downtown.
It may be that increased accidents are the cost of convenience. The city says no matter what happens, with a price tag of $900,000 the lights should be kept for possible use in the future.