Long traffic lights causing concern in Valdosta

By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 28, 2018

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Disgruntled drivers are taking concerns about long wait times to the city of Valdosta.

Valdosta city staff say they are getting complaints about intersections all across the city.

"They just switch, they just don't want you to go through," said Valdosta driver Brandon Shee. "I've missed about five classes, or been tardy because of those red lights."

Drivers are calling almost everyday about faulty signals that don't let enough cars through.

"I feel like all the other people get more of an opportunity because they're going forever, and if I'm trying to get somewhere when I'm late, especially," said driver Tanner Red. "It kind of aggravated me because they're not changing enough."

City officials said the lights are working fine. Signals are programmed to change when cars are not consistently going through the intersection.

"Instead of serving a max time of 35 seconds, if a light does not sense a vehicle there, it may only serve 20 seconds. So that additional time is moved to another direction," said Traffic Manager Larry Ogden.

For instance, if you let someone in to your lane, that creates a gap between you and the car ahead. Chances are, that light is going to switch.

"It's good for citizens to let cross traffic out, but you got to remember that if you do that, you're going to affect everyone that's behind you," Ogden said.

Ogden also added, when those calls come in, city resources are used that could have been better spent elsewhere.

"Technicians are in the building, working on other signals, trouble shooting other issues that we have throughout the city," Ogden said. "Currently we have 128 intersections, so if they're in the process of working on an intersection and we receive a complaint that one's not working properly, I have to send a technician out there to check that intersection."

The city said the best advice to keep traffic moving to pay attention to the light and the road ahead. It's also important to make sure cars are stopped behind the stop line, not the crosswalk. The city said if your back tires are stopped in front of the stop line, the sensors will not be able to tell a vehicle is there.

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