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Ocala
Monday, January 24, 2022

Ocala officials discuss traffic concerns after traffic light to four-way stop conversion near 8th Street Elementary School

City of Ocala officials discussed whether an intersection near 8th Street Elementary School should have a traffic-light or a four-way stop during Tuesday’s Ocala City Council meeting.

Mayor Kent Guinn requested clarification from the city’s engineering department regarding an intersection near 8th Street Elementary School that recently switched to a four-way stop.

“I’ve gotten a few calls and conversations about some traffic lights that we’ve changed,” Guinn said. “And I’m just trying to figure out the reason we did that.”

According to City Engineer Sean Lanier, the lights at the intersection of SE 8th Street and SE 3rd Avenue were replaced with a four-way stop sign due to a developer’s agreement.

A traffic light at the intersection of SE 8th Street and SE 3rd Avenue was replaced with a four-way stop sign recently
A traffic light at the intersection of SE 8th Street and SE 3rd Avenue was replaced with a four-way stop sign recently

A four-way stop, according to Lanier, is more conducive for pedestrian safety than a traffic signal.

“All of the unwarranted signals, we’ve been taking them out and we’re going to the four-way stops,” Lanier stated about signals around the area.

Lanier referenced a previous traffic study at the four-way stop on Fort King Street and 1st Avenue, stating “the study actually shows that the movement is faster with the four-way stop than it was with the light.”

Traffic delays at this intersection, according to Lanier, are likely related to school drop-off at the nearby elementary school.

City Engineering will observe traffic flow at this intersection to determine the root cause for the traffic delays. According to Lanier, staff will examine whether the traffic back-up is due to the new four-way stop or if it is a result of drivers failing to properly clear the intersection.