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Traffic light controversy in Destin



What seemed like a simple plan to get pedestrians across a highway has become very complicated in Destin.
Channel Three's Laura Hussey tells us why business owners are taking sides, over a traffic light.

This is the nice new parking lot the City of Destin built at the intersection of Highway 98 and Marler Street, more parking always needed here in the Harbor District. The long-term plan has been to put a light right here at the intersection to help people cross 98.

The subject of debate now is whether the light will be a full-scale traffic signal, or just a crossing light activated by pedestrians.

The owner of Sadie Lane Boutique says a full signal is needed, for safety and to promote use of the city parking lot.
Tim Yeabower, "City of Destin spent the money to put that together, why not put the light on, why not put some signage and say here's your east access to the Harbor?"

Supporters say a light would also serve to slow down traffic.
But some business owners, like Mike Buckhingham, say a series of pedestrian-activated crossing lights would be safer than one full traffic signal.

He says they've met with the Florida Department of Transportation.
"Verbally, DOT is in support with us, with the designs and thoughts of getting the pedestrians across the road, more so than they are in...Verbally, the current design of the traffic light"

In fairness, the median construction for a full signal would block left turns into Buckingham's business.
But a number of other business owners have joined his opposition.

The City Manager says without consensus, the Senate President has said there will be no light.

The council voted to explore alternative methods for getting people across the highway.
Right now there is a painted crosswalk at the Marler intersection, but it's dicey. I just spent five minutes waiting to get halfway across, now I think I missed my chance.