Four-way stop with LED lighting considered at Irving Elementary

May 17—Muskogee city officials are considering whether to repair a broken stoplight or install a four-way stop at Irving Elementary School.

Muskogee Public Works Committee members agreed Monday to replace a broken signal at J and Gibson Streets with LED-lit four-way stop signs, pending a study on the best traffic control for the intersection. The intersection, where Irving is, has had temporary four-way stop signs for about two weeks. Classes for the 2023-24 school year end May 30.

"That light has become antiquated and right now is going through some technical difficulties," Assistant Public Works Director Avery Rigney said. "With less and less children walking to school and more virtual days, the need for that stoplight has decreased."

It could cost up to $200,000 to repair the traffic light, he said.

"The alternative to having that traffic signal in there, a four-way stop with LED lighting, would still control traffic the same way and allow us to not spend our maintenance budget repairing this light," Rigney said, adding that the city already has the signs in stock.

Traffic Engineering Consultants is studying the best way to replace the broken signal.

"We will go with results of traffic engineering study, but I feel it will warrant a four-way stop," Rigney said.

Irving Elementary Principal Katy Thomson said the intersection can be dangerous.

"People rush through there, they don't always like to stop," she said. "We have a significant amount of students that walk. We have a safety patrol that's out every day in that area, morning and afternoon."

She said she's not sure whether a four-way stop or a traffic light would be better.

The red-yellow-green traffic light was installed in 2013, replacing a flashing red light.

A 7-year-old boy walking with his sister to Irving in 2012 was hit by a truck going west on Gibson. A police report said lights on a school zone sign were not flashing, and the light at Gibson and J was flashing yellow.

Muskogee Public Schools Police Chief Dan Hall, a Muskogee City Council member in 2013, advocated replacing the flashing light with the traffic light at the time.

Hall, who was reelected to the council earlier this year, said Wednesday the current traffic light has timing problems. He said public works officials called him to see if he would have a problem with a four-way stop.

"Four-way stops are kind of what they are going to now," Hall said. "People stop instead of people having a light that kids have to wait on."

At the Public Works Committee meeting, Hall suggested installing a raised crosswalk on Gibson at J Street.

"It also would make a little speed bump," Hall said. "Kids can get the extra four to six inches as they walk across the street. There's only about 15 kids who walk but those 15 lives matter."

Thomson said a raised crosswalk would be wonderful.

"That would alleviate all danger for our students," she said. "They wouldn't have to worry about cars coming or cars stopping. That would be incredibly beneficial."