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Seven downtown intersections are being converted from traffic signals to four-way stops with flashing lights in a move that city officials say will improve traffic flow and focus driver attention on pedestrians.
The conversions will begin Jan. 20, city officials announced Thursday afternoon.
“Converting the downtown intersections from traffic signal control to four-way stop control supports the goals and objectives outlined in the Comprehensive Plan by facilitating a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment,” Tess Schwartz, interim manager of traffic operations said in a press release.
“At four-way stop-controlled intersections, drivers are focused on the street level with an emphasis on pedestrians. From a vehicular perspective, drivers will experience less delay if the intersections are changed to four-way stops because they will not be waiting on a signal when there is very little traffic.”
Seven intersections — two of them by Munn Park — will be converted to stop signs with flashing lights. They are are:
- Main Street at Missouri Avenue
- Main Street at Tennessee Avenue
- Main Street at Kentucky Avenue
- Lemon Street at Missouri Avenue
- Lemon Street at Tennessee Avenue
- Lemon Street at Kentucky Avenue
- Orange Street at Iowa Avenue
In recent decades, downtown Lakeland’s roadways have undergone significant transformation, including the construction of the In-Town Bypass removing a state highway around Lake Mirror and allowing the city to reclaim the waterfront for recreation and development.
In addition, sidewalks were expanded in the last two years along Main Street across from Munn Park and “parklets” were installed along Kentucky Avenue to allow for outdoor dining during the COVID pandemic.
City officials said that after the In-Town Bypass was built, traffic volume on downtown streets significantly decreased to the point that traffic signals are no needed according to Federal Highway Administration and Florida Department of Transportation guidelines.
Officials also said that when the Traffic Operations department reviewed traffic patterns and collected data at the downtown intersections during peak hours, they determined that traffic flow improved with the four-way stops installed. They measured travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, and convenience for drivers.
“Converting the intersections from traffic signal to four-way stop will result in decreased vehicular delays and promote a more pedestrian-oriented environment,” Schwartz said.
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