Traffic light will stay on

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The Steamboat Springs City Council gave the final go-ahead to keep a traffic light functioning as is at Central Park Drive and Mount Werner Road.

After initially responding to residents' complaints by asking city staff to shut the light down, the council decided Tuesday to keep the light functioning as is. Part of the council's decision was based on the light's performance during the holiday season.

"It worked like a charm from everything I heard," City Manager Paul Hughes said.

Councilman Loui Antonucci, who was one of the council members to raise concerns about the light and the traffic problems it was causing, agreed that it should continue to function.

"As far as I am concerned, I think we fixed most of the problems," he sad.

Councilman Ken Brenner was somewhat hesitant to keep the light in place and questioned whether there really is a need for it.

"I would say, during the winter months, I have driven through that intersection almost daily. I still think traffic flowed through there quite well without a light," Brenner said. "I am going to have to be convinced this is something we really have to have in place right now."

On Dec. 7, the City Council directed staff to turn the traffic signal to flashing red and yellow lights because it was impeding traffic.

Two days later, Hughes sent an e-mail to council members requesting that the light remain unchanged until the late-December grand opening of Gart Sports, which is accessed from the intersection in question. Staff was concerned that shortly after switching the signal to flashing lights, the increased traffic going into Gart Sports would require the city to turn the signal back to how it was functioning.

When the council made its decision, city staff said the light was working as it should after a few minor glitches were fixed. Lights that were burned out were replaced. A system that automatically turns lights green for emergency vehicles was installed. Cameras that indicate when vehicles are at side streets were refocused. A turn sign on Central Park Drive was replaced to resolve drivers' confusion.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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