NCDOT gets thumbs down on proposal to remove traffic lights along Kinston street

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) -A plan by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to get rid of several traffic lights on Queen Street in Kinston, did not get the green light from residents at a public hearing Tuesday night.

“I think DOT isn’t in charge of Kinston,” said concerned handicap resident, Demetrice Mills. “It might be in charge of some highways and roadways.”

DOT recently made the proposal to remove the traffic lights along Queen Street at the intersections of Caswell, Gordon, and North streets, however many including city council were concerned with the request.

This led to several people speaking in opposition of the suggestion at a public hearing during Tuesday’s night city council meeting.

DOT says the removal will help with the flow of traffic, but some are worried about the issues it’ll create for pedestrians and those who are handicapped.

“There’s nothing for handicapped people down Queen Street,” Mills said. “If you’re going somewhere, you have to go almost a block and a half.”

Many questioned how and why DOT came up with the proposed removal, but Division Planning Engineer Len White says this has been in the works.

“We didn’t just wake up one morning and say let’s go take those lights out,” White said. “It was part of the original design and has some justification for it.”

DOT also says the removal would add to the progression and mobility through Queen Street.

After hearing from around 20 residents in opposition to the removal, the city council followed suit by unanimously voting in favor of a resolution that opposed DOT’s request, which many felt was the right decision.

The City of Kinston will now send their resolution in opposition to the Department of Transportation, although the ball is still in the DOT’s court for the removal.

Be sure to stay with us as we continue to follow this story and what happens now.