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Old 09-20-06, 09:16 AM   #1
genec
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Can motorists be retrained? New type of traffic signal. Cyclists take note.

There is a new type of traffic signal going in in this area, and supposedly other areas... it uses a flashing yellow along with the other lights.



Here is an article on the new lights.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/m...20eclight.html
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Old 09-20-06, 09:19 AM   #2
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Oh geez.... I can just imagine folks seeing the flashing yellow and thinking they need to SPEED UP to beat the light....

Ouch.

Interesting concept, though.
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Old 09-20-06, 09:21 AM   #3
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Some of the text from the article:

Quote:
“It's a little bit confusing,” said Pat Bishop of Spring Valley as she was leaving the Fabric Outlet, which is tucked in a strip mall that fronts Magnolia and Park. “I think the green light is better.”

Jese Broersma of El Cajon found the flashing yellow arrow a little intimidating. She turns at other spots to get to her job at Motoworld, located in another shopping center at Magnolia and Park.

“I avoid it,” Broersma said. “It seems like a pain in the butt.”

There is no nationwide standard for left-turn signals. More than a decade ago, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, a multistate-sponsored agency, commissioned a study on turn signals. Kittelson & Associates Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based transportation engineering and planning firm, was the primary consultant.

“The whole issue is we've got all these displays out there,” said Chris Brehmer, an associate engineer at Kittelson who worked on the study. “What should we be using?”

The research team decided the flashing yellow arrow was best understood by drivers. The signal is not yet included in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is used by traffic engineers in cities and counties nationwide.
So there seems to be confusion about this... and it is not in the MUTCD... the all knowing, all answer guide (that permits bike lanes right next to parked cars).
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Old 09-20-06, 09:21 AM   #4
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Interesting, Gene. You know, where I come from, colored lights mean very little... People tend to follow each other through a left-hand turn through the yellow, then the red, and continue turning left until oncoming traffic almost hits them. Sometimes, they actually block the intersection, and oncoming traffic's "green" light really amounts to a "stop and wait until the next cycle."
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Old 09-20-06, 09:25 AM   #5
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That probably aint gonna work.
I am setting stationary in a chair at a desk and I cant figure that one out.

I wanna turn right, not left
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Old 09-20-06, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Interesting, Gene. You know, where I come from, colored lights mean very little... People tend to follow each other through a left-hand turn through the yellow, then the red, and continue turning left until oncoming traffic almost hits them. Sometimes, they actually block the intersection, and oncoming traffic's "green" light really amounts to a "stop and wait until the next cycle."
I think the part that bothers me most about the article is that there seems to be times when motorists are not supposed to yield to pedestrians... So if there is a ped in the way... what... motorists now have permission to kill?

I know in this area the light turns green for left turning motorists and walk signals also turn to walk. The motorists then start their left turn and cross a crosswalk which may be filled with people... what traffic engineer came up with that brilliant plan? I have seen the results... which is angery drivers honking horns at school kids and little old ladies in crosswalks that are crossing with their WALK signal.

So is this just more of that insanity?
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Old 09-20-06, 09:30 AM   #7
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What does this accomplish? Seems to me just potential confusion. At a normal intersection this new blinking yellow means exactly the same thing as no light at all (E.g. a green light but NOT a green arrow). There may be some unusual intersections where it might be of use, but they will be so few that the confusion with a different light will more than make up for any benefit.

Rather than introduce more new stuff how about cleaning up older and non functioning systems already in place? On my way to work I got stuck (briefly) in a mini traffic jam. The cause? One of those freeway lights that has a sign saying 'One car per green'. The light was 'stuck' on green and someone at teh front of the line had waited for it to cycle. I was waiting to turn right onto the ramp while the traffic the other way had a left arrow. When the light changed drivers who had turned left were stuck in the intersection. Not their fault really, they quite reasonable uepected teh traffic to keep moving at the normal slow pace, not stop. Eventually the driver at the front moved. But I could see almost all the cars slow and even stop waiting for a cycle. I got lucky everyone ahead of me (except the original) figured it out right away. But that is in large part because they had been waiting. Bet the same thing happened next cycle.

On my way home and on one alternate way to work I have an intersection where when the light turns green that is the same as having a left turn arrow. The only indication of this is a sign that says '3 way intersection'. How about replacing all of these before introducing something new. (I'll have to check, but I'll bet the little sign is not lighted so there is no way to tell at all at night.)
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Old 09-20-06, 09:43 AM   #8
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Is it me or are traffic situations just getting complicated. There was an old black and white TV show on the other night called "GREEN ACRES". Traffic interesections looked simple back then!
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Old 09-20-06, 10:26 AM   #9
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I can't wait until George Jetson finally gets his flying car. Then, all we ground dwellers have to worry about is falling objects.
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Old 09-20-06, 10:37 AM   #10
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We have these here already. It works the same as other signs. The solid red means stop. The solid yellow is same as normal. Solid green means go. The only difference is the flashing yellow, which doesn't change meaning either. Flashing yellow has always been used as a yield.

We also have lights with both a green "dot" and a green "arrow." When only the green dot is illuminated, it means an unprotected left turn is allowed. When both the green dot and green arrow is present, the left turn is protected. The above signal with the flashing yellow means the same thing and in my mind is clearer as to its meaning. I absolutely hate the use of the green dot for an unprotected left turn. The shape of the signal is not clear in meaning. Changes in color or flashing vs. steady, have much more meaning. The flashing yellow is also consistent. Flashing yellow, regardless of shape, always means yield. Flashing red, replaces a stop sign. Solid red means stop and stay stopped. Solid green always means go.
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Old 09-20-06, 10:50 AM   #11
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Flashing yellow left-arrow? That is really confusing. I don't like it at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I know in this area the light turns green for left turning motorists and walk signals also turn to walk. The motorists then start their left turn and cross a crosswalk which may be filled with people... what traffic engineer came up with that brilliant plan? I have seen the results... which is angery drivers honking horns at school kids and little old ladies in crosswalks that are crossing with their WALK signal.
It is like this in Long Island, NY. The walk signal does not have its own phase in the traffic cycle so even if you cross with the walk signal, you risk getting hit by turning drivers. In Berkeley, CA, the walk signal also does not have its own phase in the traffic cycle. However, drivers are well-trained to stop for crossing pedestrians so crossing is very safe and more efficient than adding a walk phase to traffic cycle. It all depends on training and by "training" I mean enforcement.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I know in this area the light turns green for left turning motorists and walk signals also turn to walk. The motorists then start their left turn and cross a crosswalk which may be filled with people... what traffic engineer came up with that brilliant plan? I have seen the results... which is angery drivers honking horns at school kids and little old ladies in crosswalks that are crossing with their WALK signal.
I'm not an expert, but if the walk signal comes on at the same time as the left-turn arrow, you may want to give your local traffic engineer a call, because this just sounds...er, I dunno...wrong? Just about every left-turn arrow I've ever seen at an intersection with pedestrian crossing goes green while the ped-x signal remains red/the hand; the walk signal doesn't come on until after the left-turn arrow goes out and the regular through-traffic green signal. Apart from peds jumping the gun and starting to cross without the walk signal, this seems to work pretty well.

Quote:
So is this just more of that insanity?
I'd say it's different, but still fairly stupid. If anything, it seems as though it's unnecessary as a regular green signal allows for left turns while yielding the right of way to on-coming traffic, and that it would be far cheaper to change the timing of the existing signals accordingly for areas where congestion caused by stopped left-turning vehicles is a substantial enough issue.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:45 AM   #13
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I think this was dreamed up by a theorist. IN THEORY, the yellow light means "stop if it's reasonable to do so". At least, in Michigan it is. If the light turns yellow, and you don't have to stand on your brakes or similar to stop, you're supposed to stop. I've read the law pretty carefully and that's what it says.

So a theorist might think the blinking yellow is doing something useful.

In reality, people treat the solid yellow exactly like this says to treat a blinking yellow, if not worse. Practically *nobody* stops on a yellow.
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Old 09-20-06, 12:23 PM   #14
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Red -> Stop
Green -> Go
Yellow -> Go Faster
Flashing Red ->Slow
Flashing Yellow ->Ignore Me

Yep. That about covers it.
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Old 09-20-06, 12:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I think the part that bothers me most about the article is that there seems to be times when motorists are not supposed to yield to pedestrians... So if there is a ped in the way... what... motorists now have permission to kill?

I know in this area the light turns green for left turning motorists and walk signals also turn to walk. The motorists then start their left turn and cross a crosswalk which may be filled with people... what traffic engineer came up with that brilliant plan? I have seen the results... which is angery drivers honking horns at school kids and little old ladies in crosswalks that are crossing with their WALK signal.

So is this just more of that insanity?
Just shows they need to clean existing problems up before trying something 'new'. Here in L.A. I've never seen this walk vrs. left arrow problem. In fact now that I think about it I realize that something I thought was an oversite was not at a local signal. I was at a red light and the cross street had green left turn arrows both ways. So why no green right turn arrow for me? The reason is that this light permits a U turn and anyone making a U trun would have a green and intersect my path. So I still have to check for U turners. A green right turn arrow would be misleading and unsafe.
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Old 09-20-06, 12:50 PM   #16
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So what's the difference between the green arrow and the flashing yellow one? I honestly can't figure it out.
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Old 09-20-06, 12:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Wells
That probably aint gonna work.
...
Probably does work, that's why they are being installed in San Diego. The flashing yellow arrow signals have been installed in Fullerton, CA for the last year. They are part of an experiment. I believe the experiment has been a success. I have heard that the number and severity of left turn accidents has been reduces at the intersectsion where the signals are installed.
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Old 09-20-06, 02:26 PM   #18
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It doesn't look to diffrent

same as a protected left

Yellow I am going to stop you in 10 seconds
Red don't move please
Flashing Red turn left when it is ok same as flashing yellow arrow maybe they are trying to be "euro" or something foreign
Green arrow all eyes are on you buddy you have 10 seconds to clear the intersection
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Old 09-20-06, 03:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recursive
So what's the difference between the green arrow and the flashing yellow one? I honestly can't figure it out.
Green arrow is a protected left turn. The yellow arrow is an unprotected left turn.

(as a reminder: Protected means that the left turning motorist does not need to clear himself of traffic crossing his path. Unprotected means the left turning motorist needs to yield to traffic come straight across the interesection from the opposite side of the intersection.)
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Old 09-20-06, 03:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanparrish
It doesn't look to diffrent

same as a protected left

Yellow I am going to stop you in 10 seconds
Red don't move please
Flashing Red turn left when it is ok same as flashing yellow arrow maybe they are trying to be "euro" or something foreign
Green arrow all eyes are on you buddy you have 10 seconds to clear the intersection
Flashing red means you must stop before you yield (like a stop sign). Flashing yellow means you need not stop, just yield (like a yield sign). Man, some people here need a driver's ed refresher course...
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Old 09-20-06, 03:21 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Green arrow is a protected left turn. The yellow arrow is an unprotected left turn.

(as a reminder: Protected means that the left turning motorist does not need to clear himself of traffic crossing his path. Unprotected means the left turning motorist needs to yield to traffic come straight across the interesection from the opposite side of the intersection.)
So if there's traffic coming across the intersection, and it's a green arrow, you are allowed to just run into them? I think it's good practice to avoid collisions at all time, and I'm still unclear what the difference between the green arrow and the flashing yellow.
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Old 09-20-06, 03:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recursive
So if there's traffic coming across the intersection, and it's a green arrow, you are allowed to just run into them? I think it's good practice to avoid collisions at all time, and I'm still unclear what the difference between the green arrow and the flashing yellow.
The idea is that the lights are so timed that when there is a green arrow, there will be no cars coming across your path. The green arrow signifies to the left turning driver that this light timing is in place.

The flashing yellow means that the lights are timed specifically to allow cars to cross your path. The flashing yellow signifies that this timing is in effect and there may be a conflict, so you need to yield before making the left turn. It doesn't mean that you necessarily need to stop.

A flashing red (just to be complete) means you have to stop first, then yield

A solid red means you stop and stay stopped.

Of course, if someone runs a red, you shouldn't blindly hit them if you can avoid it. Many times, these lights are used at intersections where traffic load is variable. The flashing yellow can save the left turning driver time if traffic is light, and the option of the solid green means that during high traffic times, the left turn driver has a light cycle of his own.
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Old 09-20-06, 04:00 PM   #23
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I'd rather see what some European countries have, which is a red and yellow light before the signal turns green. This is intended for long lights for motorists to turn their cars off, and provide an alert to start their cars, but would be nice for timing when to slow down and when to speed up before something turns green.
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Old 09-20-06, 04:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatWhichRolls
I'm not an expert, but if the walk signal comes on at the same time as the left-turn arrow, you may want to give your local traffic engineer a call, because this just sounds...er, I dunno...wrong? Just about every left-turn arrow I've ever seen at an intersection with pedestrian crossing goes green while the ped-x signal remains red/the hand; the walk signal doesn't come on until after the left-turn arrow goes out and the regular through-traffic green signal. Apart from peds jumping the gun and starting to cross without the walk signal, this seems to work pretty well.
Yeah I have looked at a few of these and it seems really dumb to me too... especially at intersectons where there are walk buttons and the walk signal is only flashed on demand. It sure seems like there should NOT be any instance of a ped crossing the street and having to deal with motorists on a green.

I am going to check out a few more of these and then put in a general fixit request. There are some roads around here that I think need new speed surveys too.
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Old 09-20-06, 04:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recursive
So what's the difference between the green arrow and the flashing yellow one? I honestly can't figure it out.
A green arrow means you have the light, traffic coming at yuo has a red light. The flashing yellow is just like a plain green light. You can go, but traffic coming at you has a green light and the right of way.
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