Many disregard flashing red light by hospital: Signage lights to be installed to raise awareness

Gerard Edic, Staff Writer, Greenwood Commonwealth

Drivers may be disregarding a stop light at an important location in Greenwood without knowing they’re required to stop.

The three-way flashing red traffic-light stop along Strong Avenue and 8th Street, next to Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s parking for ambulances, requires drivers to come to a complete stop.
People just need to know a red flashing light is serious business, to stop and see what’s going on before pulling out,” said Mayor Carolyn McAdams.

There is a stop sign for drivers on 8th Street who will then either turn east or west onto Strong Avenue.

Because the hospital is along Strong Avenue and connects residents of nearby neighborhoods to U.S. 82, a major thoroughfare, the street receives heavy car traffic.

There’s also a great deal of pedestrian traffic there, including nurses and doctors walking between the hospital and its clinics located across the street.

Dennis Mitchell, the hospital’s head of security, said he is equally worried about cars not coming to a complete stop near the flashing traffic light. “We have ambulances pulling in, backing in,” Mitchell said. “We need awareness out there.”

From noon to 12:05 p.m. Wednesday, 30 vehicles traveled by and not one slowed down or stopped at the light, Later in the day, one SUV was observed coming to a complete stop, but after it resumed traveling, the car behind it shot through the light.

“That flashing red light used to be a flashing yellow light, a caution light to direct folks to slow down and watch out,” said Mitchell.

The light was changed from yellow to red in November at the request of the hospital, McAdams said.

The mayor said the city will soon set up two flashing signage lights 20 yards ahead of the red light on the east and west sides to notify drivers.

Though there may be other methods to get drivers to stop at the corner of Strong Avenue and Eighth Street, McAdams believes this will be the best method.

She said that, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, normal three-color traffic lights are rare at three-way stops.

McAdams also said that installing stop signs probably wouldn’t work. “Look at how many stop signs are run over,” she said.

“A flashing red light to me, especially when you’ve got flashing red lights in advance, that’s pretty huge,” she said.