'They are traffic lights for a reason:' Some Lorain residents want lights changed for budget back

Posted at 3:33 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 16:39:23-04

There have been more than a handful of street light changes and removals in Lorain in the past year to save the city money, but  some residents are fed up. They say the streets aren't as safe, and they want their traffic lights back.

"When there's cars on the road you have to scoot out to see if there's cars coming," said Lorain resident Shawn Gray about a light currently in flash mode, under study for removal.

Gray's car was towed from the East 28th & Pearl Avenue intersection Tuesday, when he says a car going southbound, through the yellow blinking light, hit him. (Story continues after map)

"That accident could have been a lot worse than what it was, one of us could have no gotten out the car," he said.

Gray believes the streets changed when the lights did. Some were removed, and some switched to flash mode last year after the city commissioned a study that found some lights could be taken down without creating problems.

"It wasn't as high of a risk when they were operational," Gray said.

"Nobody really obeys by the blinking lights. Some people don't even stop at the blinking red lights," motorcyclist, Everett Woods told News 5.

The changes were expected to save a budget-challenged Lorain about $55,000 a year because the city wouldn't need to maintain the lights or power them. It's not a price all residents are willing to pay.

"They are traffic lights for a reason," Woods said.

Folks who want lights back in full operation again.

"They're more worried about money than people," Gray said.

News 5 checked in with the Lorain's mayor and also the city's safety director, Daniel Given.

Given got back to News 5 via email. He said they're keeping things the way they are:

 "Police department traffic division has approved all lights in their current configurations months ago and there has been no further discussions of any alterations to that previous plan." Lorain mayor

Ward 6 Lorain City councilman, Angel Arroyo, insisted that may not be the case.

"I can't speak for why he's saying that. On Monday we are voting for the third and final time on removing some more lights," Councilman Arroyo said.

Arroyo said doesn't want to see any more lights go, and he'll vote that way Monday.

"We demand this stays a functioning street light, not like this," Arroyo said.