After much frustration, confusion and debate, the Kansas City Council has decided to turn the traffic lights back on at 16 intersections.
The council gave the green light Thursday, passing a resolution unanimously but not without raising some questions.
Originally the city had replaced 37 traffic signals with stop signs because the signals were out of date and no longer needed. But that led to concerns from residents that the change created confusion for drivers and made the intersections unsafe for students. They also complained that there was a lack of input from the community.
Six lights were already turned back on. Thursday resolution was to turn the lights back on at another 16 intersections, but some council members remained concerned Thursday that there was a lack of a comprehensive game plan.
Councilwoman Cindy Circo said she was voting for the resolution under protest due to the lack of choices given to the council. Circo was not satisfied with the turn-off or turn-on option.
“I’m not sure that turning these lights back on,” Circo said, “is the safest and best option for this city, because I don’t know what the other options are.”
Sean Demory, public works spokesman, said the city has money in the budget to continue to maintain the traffic lights but not to update them.
“That’s going to be the challenge,” Demory said.
Councilwoman Jan Marcason made clear that the city needs to find money to maintain the lights in the future and possibly replace them.
“Unless we get a plan fairly quickly,” she said, “we won’t have a plan to operate these traffic signals in next years’ budget.”
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