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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(October 2, 2018)

Mayor Jean Stothert has approved a new Public Works policy that creates a step-by-step process for removal of traffic signals.  Under this policy, two signals near Dundee Elementary and one near Rockbrook Elementary will not be removed.

Last fall, Mayor Stothert directed the Public Works Department to delay plans to remove the traffic signals at 51st and Farnam and 52nd and Chicago and authorized additional study during the 2017-2018 school year. The signals were scheduled for removal as part of the City’s traffic signal master plan upgrade*.

The signals at 51st and Farnam and 52nd and Chicago were studied in November 2017, April and May of 2018 by Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig (FHU).  The Public Works Department hired FHU to provide an independent study of the intersections. FHU used video cameras installed at the intersections and on-site observations to count pedestrians on November 1 and 17, April 12, May 14-15 and May 22-24.  The weather was clear on all eight days, and all were regular school days.

The 51st and Farnam, the signal did not meet the warrants and FHU recommended removing the signal. 

At 52nd and Chicago, the signal did meet the warrants and FHU recommended keeping the signal at this location.

Olsson Associates studied the signal at 108th and Oak and found it did not meet the warrants and agreed with the Public Works recommendation to remove the signal. 

Following the completion of the follow-up studies and the analysis, the Traffic Signal Removal Process Policy has been amended giving the Mayor the option to exempt signals with a school crossing sign:

“The Mayor may, in the exercise of his or her policy discretion, recommend ending the signal removal process for any signal with a school crossing sign, upon providing a written notice to the Public Works Director.”

“I made the decision to leave the signals in place at 51st and Farnam, 52nd and Chicago and 108th and Oak based on the new policy,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “The safety of everyone who uses these intersection, pedestrians, drivers or bicyclists is our primary interest.”

The Traffic Signal Removal Process Policy will be effective immediately.  It includes six steps to provide thorough study, review, and communication.

1-Initial Screening and Warrant Review

2-Supplemental Review-applies to signals identified by Public Works for removal

3-Coordination with Mayor’s Office-Mayor reviews signals recommended for removal

(Steps 4,5 and 6 improve communication and outreach)

4-Coordination with City Council members and community

5-Turn-off Period

6-Final Removal

This policy will not apply to signals on roads that are being reconstructed.

*Over the next 10 years, the City will implement the $35 million plan to modernize and upgrade the traffic signal system to improve safety and efficiency for all users. The City currently has 1,000 traffic signals using outdated technology.