Push to adjust stoplights at busy Clermont intersection

A Clermont City Councilman is proposing re-timing a yellow light at the intersection of State Road 50 and Fifth Street after a deadly accident last week.  Councilman Ray Goodgame asked the council to consider the matter on Tuesday. 

The intersection is historically accident-prone.  According to Clermont Police Department records there have been 79 accidents at the intersection since 2012.

On August 1, 89-year-old Calliope Popolizio was killed.  An adult and two children were taken to the hospital.  The accident is currently under investigation but, “Just think what three seconds would have done,” Goodgame said. 

According to the councilman, the city council decided to make the yellow light 8 seconds long in 2006. 

Since then Clermont installed red light cameras and the company that operated them shortened the yellow light to five seconds.   Last year, the red light cameras were removed but the length of the yellow light remains the same. 

Kim Fielding owns the produce market at the intersection.

“I don’t even want to tell you how many accidents [we’ve seen]! We feel like we need a first responder on duty just to go through the day here,” Fielding said.

She said her staff is still shaken by the accident that killed Popolizio, but she doesn’t think re-timing the yellow light will solve the problem.

“I want more all red,” she said, referring to the amount of time cars traveling in all direction are stopped at the red light.

Fielding says according to her stopwatch, right now everyone sits for just a second and a half. 

Her theory is: overlapping red lights allow time to clear the intersection.

“As I tell people.  Let’s all sit there, wave at each other and progress through the intersection safely,” she said.