Time to install traffic signal at W. Burdick/Pontiac intersection

Red and green. Green and red. A lot of folks are thinking about Christmas lights these days.

Not me. The only red and green lights on my mind this week are the ones produced by traffic signals.

It’s high time Oxford Village officials looked into installing a  signal at the three-way intersection of W. Burdick and Pontiac streets.

Over the years, traffic on W. Burdick St. has grown heavier and heavier even with the village’s prohibition on trucks, enacted in 2014.

Traffic volume will continue to swell as time goes on and the area continues to grow because W. Burdick St. is one of the primary roads drivers use to access downtown Oxford and pass through the village on their way to other destinations.

That’s never going to change unless the residents along W. Burdick demand their street be closed to through-traffic and gates with checkpoints be erected. Based on the truck discussion that took place four years ago, I’m surprised that hasn’t happened yet.

Over on Pontiac St., traffic stacks up at certain times of the day as people wait to turn onto W. Burdick St.

When school lets out at Oxford Elementary, it stacks up.

During the evening rush hour, it stacks up as drivers use Pontiac St. to avoid the daily backup on M-24 and the light at M-24 and Burdick St.

Waiting for a gap in traffic to make a left-turn off Pontiac St. can be particularly long and frustrating.

Exacerbating the situation is the increasing number of drivers who either don’t bother to use a turn signal because they’re too lazy or switch it on at the very last minute.

Here’s a helpful reminder – state law requires, not suggests, drivers give a proper turn signal at least 100 feet before turning.

Safe and responsible driving doesn’t involve keeping everyone around you guessing when it comes to your next move on the road. It’s not a game of chess.

The traffic situation on W. Burdick and Pontiac streets is only going to get worse in 2020 during the M-24 construction project when more vehicles get pushed off the busy state highway and onto local streets.

Some local streets, like Pontiac St., will undoubtedly turn into unofficial detour routes, whether residents like it or not, as drivers seek the path of least resistance.

I’m no traffic engineer, but given all this, it seems to me there’s sufficient reason to at least explore signalizing this intersection. If the village starts now, a light could be installed sometime next year and ready for action in 2020.

Doing something like this is not without precedent.

In 2005, the village signalized the busy intersection of E. Burdick St./Lakeville Rd. and Glaspie St.

For years, it had been a four-way stop, but increased traffic volume necessitated a change.

Putting a traffic light there wasn’t cheap. Back then, it cost the village approximately $100,000. Fortunately, Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn was able to secure $30,000 in donations to help cover the tab.

Maybe the village could find a few donors to help pay for a light at W. Burdick and Pontiac streets.

First on the list to ask should be Lynch and Sons Funeral Directors as it would most definitely benefit from having a signal directly in front of its establishment.

To me, it would be a wise investment for Lynch and Sons to pitch in and help enhance safety and accessibility for everybody visiting the funeral home.

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to hit up local developers and property owners like Chuck Schneider and Dave Weckle.

Both have a significant investment in the village. Both are never short on ideas when it comes to ways to improve the village. Both might be willing to step up to the plate.

It doesn’t hurt to ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Hopefully, this column will spark some discussion, and potentially some action, at a future council meeting.

For once, let’s tackle an issue before it becomes a major problem.

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