The City Council has sided with residents who opposed the removal of a traffic signal in their neighborhood.
Residents of the Stardust and Royale Estates neighborhoods presented the council with a petition bearing signatures of 256 people who oppose the removal of the signal on Magnolia Street between Jay and Nightingale avenues.
The council voted 4 to 1 to keep the signal in place, with Councilman John Collins dissenting.
The city's Traffic Committee had recommended removing the light because few pedestrians used the signal and because some accidents had resulted from drivers not noticing the unusual mid-block traffic light.
The signal costs $1,200 to $1,500 in maintenance and energy expenses to operate annually. Removing it would cost $3,000 to $4,000.
Collins said the signal was "no longer warranted and not cost-effective" since the closure of James O. Harper Elementary School in 1984.
The light signal was installed in 1971 for children who attended the elementary school. Although the school has closed, resident Lucille Keller said the light remains important to the neighborhood.
"Safety is not a matter of money, it is a matter of lives," she said.
Traffic Committee Chairman Larry Crandall called the signal "a matter of convenience" for residents who do not want to walk to either end of the block to use the traffic lights there.
The council requested a six-month study of traffic patterns in the neighborhoods and may reconsider the issue later this year.