Loss of traffic signal at Northwest Roanoke intersection causing concern

ROANOKE, Va. – An intersection in Northwest Roanoke is causing concern for some citizens.

Tammy Williams crosses the 11th Street NW and Orange Avenue intersection often. She says each time she holds her breath while hoping something bad doesn't happen. 

"I'm scared. They need to put them lights back up," said Tammy. 

The busy intersection used to have a traffic light, but it was taken down in March as part of the 10th Street Improvement Project.  Officials say the city added turn lanes because the project decreased drivers' turning, so the signal was no longer warranted. But residents like Tammy disagree. 

"I don't know why they took them out. It's just dangerous, real dangerous," said Tammy. 

Grover Price, the owner of the Hope Center on 11th Street, started posting videos of issues at the intersection. He says from the moment the stoplights were removed, the intersection became a problem. He's hoping the city will at least add flashing lights or something to slow down traffic.

"The light is really important to these people. They don't have a lot. All we have are these two little stores. So it's really important to this community," said Price.

City officials say they are aware of concerns related to the intersection. They are working on an evaluation of the intersection before and after the removal of the traffic signal to see how safety has changed.

Here is the full statement from the city:

"The signal was removed as part of the 10th St Improvements project. Prior to the project, left turns from westbound Orange Avenue to southbound 10th St were restricted during day time hours and traffic traveling south on 10th St had to turn left on 11th St and then come back to 10th St. As part of the project, a dedicated left turn lane was created on Orange Ave to accommodate this turning movement. With the construction of the turn lane, much of the traffic that turned left onto 11th before the project was relocated to 10th St. and with the decrease in turning volumes, the signal was no longer warranted according to national standards that guide these decisions."

"To this, I would add that the city is aware of concerns related to this area. We are in the process of initiating a detailed evaluation that will include vehicle and pedestrian counts, visual observations of the area, and a review of accident history before and after the removal of the traffic signal. (The signal was removed in late March 2018.) With this additional data and analysis, we hope to identify potential action items intended to alleviate the concerns."