Saturday, December 07, 2002

pet peeve of the day

I get pretty aggravated when people approach an intersection with no understanding of traffic signal actuators. They will invariably either pull out into the intersection at the red light, to wait there for the green, or they will wait far back from the intersection. Then after a long wait, they will run the red light.

Traffic signal actuators control many of our roadways' red lights. They consist of wires buried in the pavement which are designed to detect the metal of a vehicle sitting on top of the actuator, and to then cycle the traffic light. If you don't stop on top of the actuator, you will never get a green light. Some of the lights still work on timers, but most seem to me to have been converted to these actuators.

Signal actuators don't work very well for bicyclists since they don't consist of a sufficient amount of metal, and they don't stop in the main traffic lanes.

Here is a picture of an intersection with traffic signal actuators:


Can you see the faded stop line and the patchwork that covers the actuator's wires? If you stop at the stop line, you will be in the proper position to activate the red light to change to green for you, and for me.

Thank you.

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