Traffic technology to ease commute

Jessica Roblin

Getting stopped at every red light along the way to work or school never starts off the day on a good note.

With a $3.2 million budget, the city is replacing 10 signals along state Route 59 and one at the South Water Street and Summit Street intersection. This will make commuting smoother and safer for drivers and pedestrians, city officials said.

Work began July 29 and should come to a close at the end of this month. Signal construction should increase in upcoming weeks, causing temporary lane closures, said Kent Senior Engineer Jon Giaquinto.

“My expectation is that the new equipment will provide for a quicker travel time along the state Route 59 corridor by using computer controls at each intersection,” Giaquinto said.

The new signals have computers monitoring traffic flow, using a fiber optic network to transmit data between intersections quickly. Pedestrian signals with audio and visual countdown will also be added along with new buttons and curb ramps. Contractors recently installed this format at the intersection of state Route 59 and Stonewater Drive.

“Vehicles will be detected and counted using video cameras mounted at the intersection instead of wires placed in the asphalt,” Giaquinto said.

This data will help adjust the signal timing to its best, he said. Once installed, it’s less likely to get stopped at every light along Main Street.

City Manager Dave Ruller reminds citizens in his blog,, that signals won’t allow drivers to race through town. It will allow pedestrians and drivers to be safer with an easier route.

“So, not only will the streetscape look 100 percent better, but your drive time should also be significantly improved,” Ruller said.

Contact Jessica Roblin at [email protected].