Thursday, February 28, 2013

Traffic Light Mystery

Those flashing yellow unprotected turn arrows that caused confusion and mocking in Richardson when they were introduced two years ago are finally coming to Plano. Expect the same commotion to prevail there ... until it doesn't.

But flashing yellow arrows are not what I want to talk about today. It's plain old-fashioned green and red lights, specifically the traffic signal at the intersection of Yale Blvd and Campbell Rd. That's the scene in the photo below, looking north on Yale Blvd. The school bus across the street is southbound on Yale Blvd.

Yale at Campbell
Source: Google Street View.
After the jump, has anyone ever seen another case of this traffic light sequence?

Here's the situation. Traveling north on Yale Blvd, you are almost always delayed by a red light at Campbell (the busier street, so OK). Because of the length of the light, there's often both northbound and southbound traffic waiting at the same intersection. When the light eventually turns green, if you want to turn left onto Campbell, you should wait for the southbound traffic to cross the intersection. You'd think.

Or do you? Sometimes, you wait and wait for the oncoming cars to pull out and they just sit there. Eventually, irritated, you pull out and turn in front of them, wondering where they learned to drive. After having this happen enough times, you're finally enticed to look behind you as you turn left and you notice that the light for the southbound traffic is still red. That's right, northbound traffic gets a green light, not a green arrow, but a solid green light. Southbound traffic still has a red light, at least for a while.

So I ask. What's the northbound traffic supposed to do? Wait for the southbound traffic to eventually get a green light and clear the intersection? Or cut in front of that southbound traffic because it's just sitting there, even though you don't have a green arrow? It's mystery to me.

This reminds me... the Duck Creek Trail, where it crosses Yale Blvd south of here, remains without pavement markings and, in my opinion, remains unsafe, too.


Mark Steger said...

A helpful reader tells me that the light at Jackson St. & Greenville is like that.

Also the pedestrian / bike crossing at the Glenville Trail and Beltline is not a protected crossing.

Momaly said...

Hey, Mark. Have you given the CoR Traffic Department the heads up about this? They're there to serve 6 to 6 every weekday. 972-744-4330

Lisa Dunn

Mark Steger said...

In a way, Lisa, I like to think I might have just done so. ;-)