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March 28, 2009

‘Stale’ green lights

As I drive around the metro area I see more signs indicating that the intersections have red-light cameras. If public safety were important to the proponents of the cameras, maybe they could alter the green-yellow-red sequence by adding a flashing green a predetermined number of seconds before it changes to yellow. The flashing green would indicate that the green light is “stale.” Stale green lights allow drivers ample time to reduce speed. This would be especially beneficial for big trucks.

Some intersections in the metro area have red-light warning signs some distance back from the intersection. Those are the signs that are illuminated when the intersection ahead will be at a red light as drivers approach the sign. What a great idea! However, I see them installed only at blind intersections such as over the crest of a hill. Those red-light signs must have been quite expensive. Would the flashing green be more cost-effective?

 Why not add the flashing green to all intersections? If someone runs a red light with either the illuminated sign or the flashing stale green, they are without a doubt a scofflaw and deserve a ticket!

Cliff Dunn



This is a novel idea, but maybe a little expensive to implement. Here is another idea, and maybe less expensive. How about painting a dotted line across the road ahead of the solid white line.
When the light changes before you cross that line, you stop; when the light changes after you cross the dotted line, you continue, because you know that you could not stop in time.
As schoolbus drivers we are taught to draw an immaginary line and take our foot off the gas and put it over the brake pedal until we reach that immaginary line. I never get surprised by the light.

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