7 seconds of green: Oak Hill intersection causes problems for drivers

Austin

OAK HILL, Texas (KXAN) — Imagine being at a stop light and when it turns green, you only have mere seconds to go before the light turns red. That’s how some in Oak Hill describe an intersection along State Highway 71 near the Y.

It’s the intersection for shoppers, surrounded by two shopping centers — on one side you have HEB, and on the other the Wells Fargo and Goodwill shopping center.

That second shopping center is what has drivers concerned.

“All this is scary,” Delia Meeks said. “They see me coming and they still make the turn so I start honking. It is dangerous.”

“It’s like five seconds and it turns yellow,” Michael Ice added. “It’s extremely fast.”

A KXAN viewer reached out stating she, along with several others, had tried to contact the city for the past two years about the problem but had never heard back.  

KXAN stopped by last Thursday to observe the traffic signal light and time and time again the green lasted just seven seconds, on average. At the same intersection, several cars ended up running the red light in an attempt to beat it.

It’s something Delia said she regrets doing last April.

“Immediately, I just felt the bump on the left side of the passenger and the left truck was totaled,” she said. “I hurt my neck, went to therapy for three months because I couldn’t move my head. I had to hold my head [up] in the morning because it hurt, it was horrible.”

She now avoids the intersection completely and takes a shortcut through the shopping center’s parking lot.

“This is horrible,” she said. “I don’t know what they’re waiting for. Another accident? Multiple accidents in order to fix the problem?”

The city didn’t want to talk about this light on camera but over the weekend, it did fix what it calls a “vehicle detection issue” at the traffic signal light which was resulting in shorter greens.

Austin’s 311 representatives said since the beginning of the year, they’ve received six complaints in regard to ‘Traffic Signal Maintenance’ at this intersection:

  • March 23
  • April 23
  • Aug. 29
  • Sept. 7
  • Sept. 8
  • Sept. 11

Those complaints could vary from a light stuck on a certain color to timing being off or a light flashing or broken. However, after the city’s transportation department reviewed them, it said no one specifically complained about the short green light. In the process, it discovered the “vehicle detection issue.”

Two different people called KXAN about this traffic signal light, and neither of those was Delia who KXAN met while checking out the viewers’ claims.

In a statement from Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair she was happy to see the issue had been resolved and wanted to remind her constituents they can reach out to her office.  

“Residents are the eyes and ears of the city. While 311 is the best place to initially report issues like this, my team and I are always here to make sure that whenever there are problems with City services, those problems are ultimately addressed. I am glad the light timing at this intersection has been so swiftly fixed.” – Ellen Troxclair, Austin City Council Member District 8

The city of Austin said they’ve made it easy for you to let them know you have a concern. All you have to do is go through their 311 system online or through the app.

You can select from a list of issues including code, water and street and sign problems.

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