In West Jefferson, DOT Division 11 Traffic Engineer Dean Ledbetter told the town aldermen last summer that traffic patterns at two intersections of Jefferson Avenue did not support the need for traffic lights, and if those lights had not already been there, DOT would not likely approve them. When it comes to motorists, Ledbetter explained, those seeing a green light are probably not going to be friendly to a pedestrian wanting to cross the street. A stop sign, on the other hand, has a traffic calming effect, resulting in an overall slowing of traffic and safer crossings for pedestrians.
Ledbetter said traffic lights are often needed in rural settings and on highways, but not in a pedestrian heavy area where motorists are expected to stop.
Craig Hughes with High Country COG has made the same suggestion in Lansing for the one intersection with a traffic light. The Lansing Board of Aldermen discussed the issue earlier this month but made no decision. Town Clerk Bernice Prestwood said opinions on the board vary on the issue, and the board decided that if the suggestion is to be considered further, a public hearing would be scheduled.
On the pedestrian plan, Prestwood said discussion took place – but no decision - on a possible attachment between Lansing along Big Horse Creek Road to a scenic byway through Todd, a suggestion from the Greater Lansing Area Development organization seeking the town’s approval.
The goal of the pedestrian plan is to determine how to enhance the pedestrian environment in Lansing, looking at potential sidewalks and trails as well as improving pedestrian safety. Pedestrian crossing at the intersection of N.C. 194 and Big Horse Creek Road could potentially be made safer with stop signs that would stop all traffic, given that calming effect as described by Ledbetter for downtown West Jefferson.