LIMA — Drivers traveling across Lima may notice a subtle difference in their drive beginning today, City Engineer Kirk Niemeyer said.
The city today launched new signal timings for the 60 intersections on its coordinated signal system. Periodic adjustments are made, particularly as concerns are made by drivers, Niemeyer said, but the new timings are the first full-system overhaul in the computerized system in at least 15 years.
“We look at both corridor and intersection timings and we try to move the cars, vehicles in the most safe and efficient manner,” Niemeyer said. “In doing that our goal is to reduce delay, reduce congestion, reduce the times you have to start and stop but also improve the posted speed. If it’s posted 25 mph, 35 mph we want you to be able to drive that speed and avoid those things that make you come to a stop.”
The timings are based on extensive study and analysis of the traffic patterns and when traffic is the heaviest. The traffic signals will be coordinated together in a specific direction based on those patterns; however, there are limitations in Lima’s system that make it impossible to coordinate in both directions, Niemeyer said.
“With traffic signals, typically you need between 1,500 and 2,000 feet between signalized intersections to coordinate in both directions,” he said. “In the dense grid like we have here in downtown Lima we can only coordinate in one direction. We try to coordinate most of the time in the direction the higher volume of traffic will be flowing.”
The traffic signal coordination is part of a five-phase traffic study the city is in the midst of implementing, Niemeyer said. The first phase, the conversion of Spring and Elm streets to two-way traffic in the downtown, as well as another update to West Elm Street between South Cable Road and South Woodlawn Avenue is complete.
Niemeyer said the final project to be completed, the West Elm Street reconstruction between South Cable Road and South Woodlawn Avenue opened to traffic earlier this week and cost $1.55 million
Next year’s project, along portions of Elizabeth and West streets, does not include any two-way conversions but will focus instead on new curbs, sidewalks, a new driving surface, reverse angle parking and a bike lane, Niemeyer said.