Streetcar traffic signals are up and running

OKLAHOMA CITY - In just a little over two months, the streetcar will be hitting the streets. In that time, there`s been a lot changes around Oklahoma City and the most recent is the street lights.

On Friday, traffic signals on Broadway at NW 8th and NW 11th streets will be turned on. Electronic signboards are already in place alerting drivers.

“It is hard for people to cross the street; people drive 40, 50 miles an hour here,” said Carl Wayne Wester

Now those drivers will need to slow down. Areas that once never had a traffic signal have them now.

“We have traffic signals that are going to be turned on on Broadway, one is at Northwest 8th and the other is at Northwest 11th,” said Kristen Torkelson, Streetcar Construction communication liaison.

On Friday, city crews turned on all the lights along the streetcar routes. The new street signals will help guide the streetcars throughout traffic so drivers know when to stop and when to go.

“The signal at 8th is basically for pedestrian’s safety and we also have a platform at this location. The signal at northwest 11th, the streetcars in the far right lane and it`s going to make a left-hand turn; so we actually have to stop all directions of traffic, allowed the streetcar to turn and let people go,” said Torkelson

It`s a change that could help ease traffic but it could also be good for business.

Wester is the owner of 822 Broadway salon and he hopes the new street signals near his shop will bring in new customers and keep folks safe.

“I think it`s going to help slow it down and make it safer for pedestrians, people walking their dogs, walking with their kids,” said Wester.

Folks said the new lights could be a bit confusing for some drivers.

However, they believe it will be a smooth ride.

“I think as traffic figures it out it`ll be okay, but you`re going to have to slow down to figure out how it exactly works,” said Lori Ehardt.

On Monday, streetcars will start using the Downtown Loop for testing. The tests are the same as those that began in June on the Bricktown Loop. Testing on both loops will be ongoing until service begins late this year.