Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Mdcastle
Foshay Tower
Posts: 808
Joined: March 23rd, 2013, 8:28 am
Location: Bloomington, MN

Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby Mdcastle » May 22nd, 2020, 7:41 pm

Regarding the Washington Ave, the flashing yellow isn't an attempt to imply ROW but because the feds said that green bicycle signals may only be used when there's no conflict with other phases. Since you can't use that when bicyclists may go with conflicts, what do you do? What they came up with was you use what has the same legal meaning, a flashing yellow non-arrow.

Having a green ball mean what it does for motorists (you may go straight and there may or may not be conflicts, or you may turn either direction if you yield first and there probably are conflicts) would never be allowed if we were designing signals today because is much to dangerous because it seems to communicate to people "you may go any direction with ROW or without conflicts" . This is such a problem that MnDOT is discussing the idea of using flashing yellow arrows on all new signals regardless of if there's turn lanes, some outlaying districts are doing this. Of course there's the umpteen existing signals on showing a single green ball, but that doesn't mean we need to repeat the mistake when designing a new type of signal.

There's been several other attempts to deal with the problem that have been less successful. Missouri used to use a ball when you could go with potential conflicts and an upward pointing green arrow when you could go without conflicts (like if opposing traffic had a red turn arrow). Washington DC used a flashing walk sign to indicate conflicts and a sold walk to indicate no conflicts. These were dropped because they were too subtle. It's possible the flashing yellow bike signal may be dropped as too subtle or the problem it causing with ROW confusion is worse than the one it's trying to solve, and a solid green allowed.

Bike signals red for a fraction of a second longer: Likely the vehicle signals are on a phase and the bike signals on an overlap, or vice versa. With traffic signal phases and overlaps don't activate simultaneous even if that is an intent. You can see this sometimes on a five section protected / permissive head where the ball and the arrow don't go on quite simultaneously

karlshea
Nicollet Mall
Posts: 112
Joined: July 14th, 2014, 10:28 am

Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby karlshea » May 24th, 2020, 11:43 pm

MnDOT is discussing the idea of using flashing yellow arrows on all new signals regardless of if there's turn lanes, some outlaying districts are doing this.
I swear I saw this for the left turn signal from Washington Ave W turning to 3rd Ave S.


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