Palm Coast - The City of Palm Coast is looking to improve traffic flow at intersections throughout the city by changing how the signals operate. City staff is working with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) Traffic Unit to make coordinated decisions that will make it easier for drivers and thus, improve safety.

There are signals at two intersections that have recently been modified and now operate in sync with one another. Those intersections are Palm Coast Parkway and Cypress Point Parkway and Cypress Point Parkway at Cypress Edge Drive. For drivers turning left from Palm Coast Parkway to Cypress Point Parkway and then left again at Cypress Point Parkway at Cypress Edge Drive, the signal will be green at the same time. This way, both turn lanes are emptying out more efficiently with a lesser likelihood of backing up as often. Drivers also won't have to wait as long to maneuver through both signal changes.

After receiving a few work orders requesting staff find a better traffic flow, city traffic engineer Michael Grunewald, went to the area to check it out. This is familiar territory for Grunewald, who joined the city a year ago, and has more than 25 years of traffic engineering experience. His previous job was technical expert for a traffic signal controller distributor that covered 13 states and his role was solving traffic problems through solutions specifically with traffic signals.   

"Since joining the City, I'm thrilled with the high quality of the traffic signal intersection design," said Grunewald. "We have all sorts of tools at our disposal to make slight changes to make the signals interact better with the driver."

Members of the FCSO - Commander Gerald Ditolla, Sergeant Adam Biss, Sergeant Scott Vedder, and Commander David Williams - provide the City with eyes and ears. They report what they see happening to the Traffic Division. Their evenhanded evaluation of the same problems that drivers report gives our traffic team a clearer picture of exactly what is happening that needs to happen better.

The FCSO Traffic Unit works closely with the City's traffic engineer and reports any engineering issues. If engineering issues are identified, FCSO Traffic Unit members coordinate with the City's traffic engineers to resolve and correct any issues promptly. The goal of the FCSO Traffic Unit is to reduce injury and fatal crashes through education, engineering and enforcement. 

"We welcomed the opportunity to assist the City of Palm Coast in improving traffic flow through major intersections," Sheriff Rick Staly said. "Not only will this alleviate irritating traffic delays but it can help avoid collisions in these high crash intersections. We look forward to continuing to help the City in this joint endeavor."

Tyler Gibson is the second member of the City's Traffic Engineering section. Tyler has been a lead traffic signal maintainer for the City previously in Public Works. Gibson and Grunewald are scheduling Friday afternoons as a recurring schedule to visit traffic signals in the area to determine timing changes and whether the equipment is functioning correctly. So changes and improvements will be continuing.

Look for more improvements in the future on Old Kings Road between Palm Coast Parkway and Kings Way traffic signals after the road widening project has completed. The team is also examining a possible new traffic signal coordination program for the length of Palm Coast Parkway.

Got a traffic concern? Send in your concern through Palm Coast Connect at palmcoastconnect.com. For traffic emergencies, contact the Flagler County Sheriff Office.

PHOTO: From left to right: FCSO Commander Gerald Ditolla, FCSO Commander David Williams, City Traffic Engineer Mike Grunewald, and FCSO Sergeant Adam Biss.