Las Crucens frustrated with non-synchronized traffic lights

POSTED: 11:02 PM MDT Jun 19, 2013    UPDATED: 11:03 AM MDT Jul 18, 2014 
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Some Las Cruces drivers say they're tired of the stop-and-go driving in the city.

It's not because of traffic jams.

It's because most of the traffic lights are not synchronized.

"To say can you go from Highway 70 or Main Street all the way down to Main Street or University? Probably not," said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

Miyagishima said only a handful of traffic lights in the city are synchronized.

With the city now home to more than 100,000 people, some Las Crucens are hoping that will change.

"Sometimes if you're in a rush you have to stop a lot," one Las Crucen said.

"Stopping and going, it's a lot of wear and tear. I also think it's kind of hazardous because you're going and all of a sudden you have to stop," said another Las Crucen.

Miyagishima told ABC-7 putting a system in place could cost around $10 million.

"Not all of our traffic signals are of the same age. Some are pretty old. Some are new. For us to do this citywide would encompass replacing several traffic lights," he said.

There are some benefits if the city is willing to pay.

"Reduction of collisions, because now we have a smooth transition through our intersections, savings in fuel for the drivers. We have less emissions because vehicles are not idling at intersections waiting for a green light and less congestion," said Ted Marquez, the director of the El Paso Department of Transportation.

Miyagishima admits the city will need a system eventually.

For now, it's not a high priority.

"We're going to be dealing with the hold harmless clause which is something we have to make sure we have the money necessary to run the day-to-day operations of the city. There's also downtown, which is our crowned jewel. We want to make sure things go as planned there," Miyagishima said.

The mayor said the city could start working on a system for synchronized lights within the next three to five years.