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City says the signal timing on new lights near Agnes Scott will be fixed ‘over the next month’


City says the signal timing on new lights near Agnes Scott will be fixed ‘over the next month’


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Photo of traffic in Decatur at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. Photo provided by Elizabeth Eppes

This story has been updated. 

New traffic signals that will allow for protected left turns at the McDonough and Candler railroad crossings were turned on Thursday, Oct. 18.

While the intentions were good, in the short term it has created a traffic headache for people who regularly traverse the area. Drivers have reported spending upwards of 30 minutes trying to get through the traffic jam the lights have created.

Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said he hears the frustration that people have with the situation and said a fix is on the horizon.

“We have asked the Department of Transportation to review and adjust the timing of the signals to relieve some of the traffic congestion that is occurring, especially on East Trinity in the afternoons,” Saxon said. “This appears to be a main area of concern. A specialized signal timing plan will be developed over the next month that should greatly improve traffic flow throughout the area. This will take into account the additional pedestrian phases and all the new left-turns that have been added with this project.”

Getting the traffic signals installed was a complicated process and the lights sat in bags for months before finally being activated.

“These intersections are complicated – each crossing is actually two intersections adjacent to each other that are separated by the railroad tracks,” Saxon previously said. “Because there are so many elements at each crossing – new protected left turns on several additional legs at each intersection, the regular traffic signals, pedestrian signals, the railroad pre-emption – some special equipment is required to make the signals work as planned.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation provided the city with new advanced traffic controllers – the cabinets that house the technology to run the system – and additional signal heads at no cost to the city, Saxon said.

The new equipment required for the completion of the signals was recently installed.

“The technology involved is innovative and will greatly improve safety and convenience for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists,” Saxon said at the time.

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