Kinston City Council to discuss NCDOT proposal to remove traffic lights on Queen Street

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation wants to remove three traffic lights on Queen Street in downtown Kinston. Kinston City Council members are scheduled to talk about what it could mean for the downtown area at the city council meeting Tuesday night.

Howard Freeland, a longtime Kinston Resident says, “I get from one light and then five seconds later I’m at another light for another minute when I really need to get to my destination.”

In downtown Kinston, NCDOT wants to make the traffic lights on Queen Street at the intersections of Caswell, Gordon, and North Streets.

“We’ve looked at the sight distance to make sure the sides streets will be able to look to the right and to the left and the sight is clear. It’ll help the flow of traffic on Queen Street. Right now, there’s 45 seconds of green and the flow traffic on the side streets will be 18 seconds of green so right now, Queen Street is actually still stopping even if there’s no traffic on the side streets,” Jim Evans, NCDOT Division II Traffic Engineer told WITN.

Howard says he’d look forward to the potential removal due to less foot traffic downtown and better flowing traffic. “That would actually help the flow of mobile traffic, to move through smoothly and keep the traffic moving much better. A lot of the businesses are not here anymore. Pedestrian traffic has reduced tremendously in the area so there’s not a lot of pedestrian traffic in the area walking up and down Queen Street like there used to be.”

Though the proposal is still in the early stages, Evans says that safety is the number one concern.

“Safety is the most important for everything. Nothing will be changed, they’ll still have high-visibility crosswalks at the intersections. The pedestrian will have to make sure they have their way clear before proceeding,” Evans said.

WITN reached out to city council members for a comment ahead of Tuesday’s city council meeting. However, did not hear back, or was told no comment until after the meeting.

If the city decides to move forward with the proposal, the city and Lenoir County Transportation Committee will send a resolution to the NCDOT, to then remove the signals.

The city council meeting is Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the town hall.