Scranton Parking Garage Traffic Jams

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SCRANTON -- Most of us can't wait to get home once we leave work.

However, a group of county workers in Lackawanna County get out of work, weekdays at 4 p.m. They try to go home, or to other appointments, only to get stuck in their cars, inside a downtown Scranton parking garage.

"People sit here for 25 minutes," said Theresa Shemlick of Carbondale as she tried to leave for the day.

"The average wait is about a half hour," added Annmarie Luchansky of Dickson City from the drivers seat, slowly moving her vehicle towards Adams Avenue.

"If you have an appointment or someplace else you have to get to after work, you`re kind of, late," said Cynthia Price, a Children, Youth, and Families worker from Dunmore.

They blame the signal light at the intersection of Adams and Spruce, which seems like its briefly green, then red for a long time.

Action 16 Investigative Reporter Dave Bohman tested the light with a stopwatch on Adams Avenue where the parking garage for county employees exits.

The light is green for 20 seconds, but red for more than a minute and a half.

Which means drivers trying to leave the garage at 4 p.m. get stuck while fumes fill up the facility.

"This signal in particular, we`re going to be looking at again next week to figure out why its been causing so many headaches," said PennDOT spokesman James May, who also said the tie ups result from a $5.5 million upgrade to synchronize 50 signal lights through downtown Scranton.

It's supposed to help traffic become *more efficient."

So why does the traffic jam at 4 p.m. at Adams and Spruce?

"It`s sort of like a 50 sided Rubik`s Cube, that when you make changes to one intersection, it impacts 49 other signals," said the May.

"I have a sick husband at home that i have to get home to. And it doesn`t look like its going to happen anytime soon," said Luchansky.  "There are people in the office who work second jobs and have to go right to other jobs after here, and they`re sitting in this traffic sometimes until about 4:30 p.m."

County workers said Scranton Police denied their requests to have an officer direct traffic here between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

Meantime, May asks drivers to be patient while stuck in the garage.

May said the solution will take anywhere from three days, to four weeks.