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Monday, August 30, 2021

Are there parts of Ocala that need more, fewer traffic lights?

Are there any parts of Ocala that you believe would benefit from more, or fewer, traffic lights?

Last year, the city of Ocala removed traffic lights at various intersections throughout the downtown Ocala area.

Stoplights on Magnolia Avenue in Ocala Florida
Many of the traffic lights in downtown have been replaced with four way stops, including this one at Magnolia Avenue and Broadway Street

Intersections like the one above at Magnolia Avenue and Broadway Street, now have stop signs to control the flow of traffic.

Although infrequent, traffic may back up at some of these intersections, including SE 1st Avenue. That happens, at times, as a result of the stop light that remains at its intersection with East S.R. 40. However, many believe the stop signs in downtown Ocala have improved and created a more continuous flow of traffic.

Misunderstanding the right of way may also lead to bottlenecking at brief periods through the day. That can lead to frustrating and even dangerous situations for drivers and pedestrians.

When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, and are located side-by-side, the vehicle furthest to the right has the right of way. If three vehicles arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed.

Silver Springs Boulevard Traffic Light
Silver Springs Boulevard red traffic light

Recently, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office reminded residents of the rules when lights are out: If the traffic light is flashing red, treat it as a stop sign. If the traffic light is flashing yellow, all drivers must proceed with caution. If the traffic light is completely out, the intersection must be treated as a four-way stop sign.

The city and county conduct traffic studies regularly and are diligent in their pursuit of improving traffic flow and safety. Traffic studies measure the flow of traffic over a period of time for various thoroughfares across Marion County and Ocala.

Do you believe there are intersections in the city that could use a traffic light? Or others that would benefit from the removal of one? Share your thoughts in a letter to the editor.