VALPARAISO | One month after getting a request for another turn arrow at Glendale Boulevard and North Calumet Avenue, the traffic signal has been approved by the city's Traffic and Safety Committee.
City Engineering Director Tim Burkman said at Tuesday's committee meeting he looked into why the left turn signal for westbound traffic on Glendale wasn't installed when the intersection was revamped a couple of years ago.
He was told most turning motorists came from eastbound traffic and the westbound arrow wasn't deemed necessary then. Over time, as the city has grown and traffic increased, the traffic has increased. It has especially been true with the detour for the five-points roundabout construction.
Mark Connor, of Boy-Conn Printers at the northeast corner of the intersection, asked for the left turn arrow at the committee's August meeting saying traffic often gets backed up for some distance and the turn arrow might help speed the movement of vehicles.
Burkman said adding the turn arrow for westbound traffic and allowing vehicles from both directions to turn left at the same time would not stretch out the timing of the signals for Calumet and increase backups there.
He said it would only cost about $1,500 to upgrade the one signal because the traffic sensing loops already are installed in the pavement and they are wired to the mast arm. He compared it to what the city recently did at Evans Avenue and Calumet.
Connor said, "This is great news for this corner because it will increase the traffic flow in a positive way, especially for the vendors in town. This is going to turn me into a politician if I get my way every time I go into town. It's amazing they acted so quickly."
The committee also approved the relocation of the flashing school zone signal on the northbound side of Campbell Street in front of Benjamin Franklin Middle School about 300 feet to the south. The school had asked for a mid-block crosswalk at Haas Street, which the committee said would only create a false sense of security for pedestrians.
Burkman said it will cost $2,850 to move the existing signal, which is a standard electrical one, and $4,225 to switch it to a solar powered signal. It was not converted to solar power when several others were a couple of years ago because it was too shaded.
Burkman said a final decision will depend on how much money he can find in the budget. The new location is open and gives more warning to motorists of the school approaching. New "School" lettering will be painted on the pavement at the new location as a further warning.