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Cottage Grove traffic signal changes approved

The busy intersection of Jamaica Avenue and East Point Douglas Road is one of four where the city of Cottage Grove is implementing changes aimed at improving traffic flow. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente2 / 2

The Cottage Grove City Council approved changes at some of the city's busiest intersection that officials say will help ease congestion -- and hopefully, soothe drivers' nerves in the process.

The plan OK'd by council members at a June 20 meeting alters traffic signal timing at four busy intersections and makes some changes to turn lanes. The intersections are:

-- Jamaica Avenue and East Point Douglas Road

-- Jamaica and 90th Street

-- East Point Douglas and Cottage Grove Plaza, near the mall that includes Target

-- 80th Street and East Point Douglas/Hardwood Avenue

The changes will cut idling time at intersections, conserve fuel and make for easier driving through some of Cottage Grove's busiest areas, City Engineer Jennifer Levitt said recently.

It stems from a study undertaken by the city and consultant SEH, Inc., in February that examined the efficiency of the city's seven municipally managed, traffic light-controlled intersections.

That report, presented to the council last week, found haphazard timing among the city's signals due to case-by-case changes made over the years.

Levitt characterized the changes as small but said they would make a big difference for drivers.

"It will remove some of the frustration and irritation for motorists," she said.

All recommended signal adjustments have already been implemented by city staff, according to a memo from the city engineer. The other changes will cost $17,000, to be paid from the city's street light maintenance budget.

A second phase of improvements includes a master traffic signal control to be installed at Jamaica Avenue and 90th Street at a cost of $20,000 in 2013. That signal control will synchronize lights at the intersection with those at Jamaica and East Point Douglas, and East Point Douglas and Cottage Grove Plaza.