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Lights Out — Inoperable traffic signal causes minor mayhem downtown

Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 18:38:32-05

CLEVELAND — Driving in downtown Cleveland near one particular intersection has been especially chaotic this week. Dozens of drivers on Thursday morning failed to treat the intersection of East 9 Street and St. Clair Avenue as a four-way stop after the traffic signal was left inoperable due to a "feeder line" issue earlier this week. The repeated failures to yield nearly resulted in multiple crashes at the busy intersection.

It is unclear what specifically caused the "feeder line" issue that cut off electricity to the traffic signals, crosswalk signals as well as the informational kiosk. The traffic signal at the neighboring intersection, Rockwell and East 9th, was also inoperable Thursday afternoon.

Longtime resident Kristina Martins said walking downtown on any given day can be hazardous — and that’s when the traffic signals are working normally.

“Where there are the flashing stops, [drivers] don’t care. Everyone is always in a hurry,” Martins said. “When I have the right of way to cross and someone is turning left, [drivers] will yell at you and say they have the right of way, despite me having the crosswalk sign.”

Ohio Revised Code makes clear what the law expects drivers to do when approaching an inoperable traffic signal. Drivers are to stop and yield before proceeding through the intersection, essentially treating the intersection as a four-way stop.

Thursday morning, dozens of drivers seemingly forgot that part of driving school when approaching the intersection of East 9th and St. Clair, several of whom nearly caused crashes with oncoming traffic.

“That’s why I joked with [my friend], ‘Are you ready to risk your life to cross the street today?’” Martins said.

A nearby Cleveland police officer pulled over at least four of those motorists. It is unclear if the officer issued citations. Early in the afternoon, an additional officer responded to the scene and the two officers helped to direct traffic.

According to city officials, the traffic signal went down because of an issue with the feeder line and a repair order has been issued. However, it is unclear when the fix will take place, nor is it known why it has taken at least five days to fix.