Residents want light at intersection where teen killed in home

City says crossing roads did not meet criteria in 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Many people in one Southside neighborhood are asking what it's going to take for the city to install a traffic light at an intersection where a minivan blew through a stop sign and killed a 17-year-old as she slept in her bed early Tuesday.

JaNay Jackson's family said they first asked for reflectors, a traffic light or anything to be put in at the intersection when they first moved in back in the 1980s. The city doesn't have records from back then, but officials said they did look into adding a light at the intersection about seven years ago but it didn't meet the criteria.

"Now that a tragedy happens, what are they going to do -- wait for another tragedy to happen?" resident Marie Ochs said.

Neighbors say speeding has always been an issue along these roads.

"Very bad. I mean, they go by here like they're on the Daytona Speedway," Ochs said.

Ochs has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 40 years and said it's especially bad at the T-intersection of Barnes and Kennerly roads in front of the home where JaNay Jackson was killed.

There's a stop sign at the intersection, but many who live on the street believe there needs to be more.

Similar intersections around the city with homes facing them have just stop signs. But just down the street from the Jacksons' home is a totally different story. Three bright yellow reflectors and a sign let drivers know it's the end of the road.

Officials with Jacksonville's Public Works Department spoke Wednesday about why nothing is installed at the intersection in front of the Jacksons' home. They said they looked at the issue in 2005, but the intersection "did not meet warrants for a signal to be included."

Marcy Cook, of the department, said the city looked at eight different criteria.

"We look at traffic volumes, we look at pedestrian volumes, we look at any school crossings in the area, we look at accident history," Cook said.

The city said it will do a traffic study if residents request one, but officials admit that adding a signal isn't always the answer.

"You could be taking care of one particular problem and creating other ones, and we are very mindful of that," Cook said. "A traffic signal is not necessarily the best option to solve a particular problem at a troubled intersection."

The city says even with Jackson's accident, it doesn't automatically decide to install a traffic light or a reflector or even do another traffic study. Officials said they're waiting until police complete their investigation before they make a decision.

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