Overland Park will help keep traffic flowing across the metro area.
At its meeting Monday evening, the city council approved an agreement with the Mid-America Regional Council for funding a portion of the Operation Green Light Traffic Control System Operations in the amount of $35,800 annually.
The regional system helps synchronize traffic signals across jurisdictions on both sides of the state line, providing a seamless, quicker commute for drivers and reducing pollution from idle vehicles.
Overland Park entered into its first agreement with MARC to help fund the project five years ago.
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The city’s annual cost is actually $71,600, but half of that amount will be offset with federal funding for the next two years, City traffic engineer Brian Shields explained to the council.
The city will also receive $15,000 back for software maintenance each year, he said.
Of the city’s 260 traffic signals, only about 45 of them will be part of the project, Shields said.
The system will coordinate traffic along regional corridors, such as Shawnee Mission Parkway and will be used for traffic signals bordering other cities, he said.
While most of the council members were in support of the project, a couple of them did have questions.
Councilman Terry Goodman was curious what would happen if Overland Park discontinued funding.
“When a large player like Overland Park pulls out, there would have to be a significant adjustment to the project,” Shields said.
Dave Janson, the only council member who voted against the agreement, said he didn’t think the system worked very well, so he couldn’t support it.
Shields responded that traffic in general is hard to control, but the city is trying.
“Some of our corridors are very heavy and it’s difficult during peak hours to get a high amount of traffic through green lights,” he told Janson.
Shields also mentioned that the city is continually improving its traffic system.
For example, the city is currently upgrading its system to a fiber-based communications network and has installed new signal controllers and closed-circuit cameras to monitor traffic flow.
The majority of council members agreed with Shields that Operation Green Light was beneficial.
“I understand Dave’s frustration with traffic signalization in our city, but I do support this,” said Councilman Curt Skoog.