New traffic light causing more back-ups

By Charles Sercombe

There might be one thing we can all agree on.

Bring back the blinking red traffic light on Caniff in front of the fire station. The city was forced to end the practice of allowing motorists to stop and drive through the red light when new traffic lights were installed over the summer.

That’s because $800,000 in federal money was used to upgrade traffic lights along Caniff, and federal safety rules don’t allow blinking red traffic lights, said City Manager Bill Cooper.

The lights are supposed to change their timing based on the volume of cars on the road.

Well, what’s happened is that traffic is now backing up in front of the fire station and down Caniff, causing long delays in getting through the intersection.

“I understand the problem,” said Cooper. “I’ve been caught in a few jams.”

There’s no chance to bring back a blinking red light, Cooper said, because the city could be forced to repay the money to the government.

But there may be a solution. Hamtramck Fire Chief Steve Paruk said the crux of the problem is that drivers who are turning left on Mackay or turning left on Brombach have five extra seconds of green light to turn.

However, those drivers are unaware that oncoming traffic has a red light.

Paruk said a green arrow needs to be installed as well as a sign telling drivers they can complete their left turn on the arrow.

As for traffic back-ups in front of the station, he said there’s no danger of fire trucks being blocked from answering an emergency call.

Paruk said traffic can easily be cleared in front of the station because there is a button firefighters can push that activates the green traffic light.

Now if only there were a similar button for motorists to push.

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