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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesV.I. Answer Desk: Time-Wasting Stoplights

V.I. Answer Desk: Time-Wasting Stoplights

Ever wonder "why none of the territory’s stoplights seem to have a functioning controller that senses when a car is in the turn lane" or about the logic (or lack thereof) behind when VIPD opts to direct traffic? You’re not alone.
In our first edition of the V.I. Answer Desk, we try to get some answers for local businessman Rik Blyth, who writes:
"I have wondered why none of the territory’s stop lights seem to have a functioning controller that senses when a car is in a turn lane. Every single light between the airport and downtown has a turn arrow that comes on during every cycle, whether a car is turning or not, thus holding up all the other cars coming from the other side of the intersection."
To find out the answer, I called Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, who picked up his personal cell phone during his lunch hour, while he was attending this year’s Cultural Fair. He said that there are some stoplights in the territory with that kind of technology, but much of it has deteriorated over the years.
Instead of installing the same technology, Public Works is looking to put in up-to-date sensors, but is currently working on a cost-effective way to purchase and install them territory-wide.
Traffic control has long been a frustration on St. Thomas, particularly at some of the major intersections, where cars can pile up for hours. At peak hours, such as the early mornings and evenings after work, V.I. Police Department officers can be seen directing traffic.
We were also asked to look into why there are officers placed at certain intersections around the island and not others — and why, sometimes, they aren’t there at all.
It was difficult to get through to the Traffic Bureau Tuesday, as most of the staff was stationed throughout downtown St. Thomas, keeping the peace while hundreds packed Emancipation Garden for the fair.
But VIPD spokeswoman Melody Rames said the placement of officers has to do with traffic flow — meaning, they’re directed to the places where traffic is heaviest — and the availability of manpower.
A specific intersection — next to the Fort Christian Parking Lot and the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Complex — was mentioned in the inquiry, and I would like to note that while driving downtown Tuesday, three cars ran the red light to turn onto Norre Gade.
And when this was pointed out to the crossing guard stationed at the corner, she turned away to talk on her cell phone.
Thanks for your questions. Please continue to send them in! To submit a question or concern, go to the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of every page on the Source. In the Category drop-down menu, choose V.I. Answer Desk and send us your call for change or information.

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