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Watch for the flashing yellow signal arrows Wednesday

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:05 am | Updated: 1:59 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.


This should be as easy as red light, green light.

The first of 35 new flashing yellow turn signal lights to be installed over the next year are to start casting golden beams on local motorists Wednesday.

The new traffic lights have been installed on First Avenue, at Cushman and Barnette, and at Illinois and Minnie Street. Those are to be lighted Wednesday when First Avenue returns to two-way traffic on the stretch between Cushman and Barnette.

This is the first stage in the traffic revisions associated with the new Barnette Street bridge, officially  known as Veterans’ Memorial Bridge.

As of Wednesday, traffic headed west on First Avenue will face left-turn arrows at Barnette. Traffic headed east on First Avenue will face left-turn arrows at Cushman.

The signals differ from the older traffic lights in this way—when you are making a left turn against traffic, the solid green arrow will light up when you have the right of way.

But when the green light goes out, it will be replaced by a yellow light and a red light in quick succession. After a moment, the flashing yellow light will start up.

When the arrow is flashing yellow, you can proceed only after yielding to oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians.

After a decent interval, the flashing yellow light will give way to the third light—a solid yellow arrow. The solid yellow arrow is to remain lighted for three seconds.

After that, the red arrow will light up.

At two other intersections, the yellow flashing lights will be in operation next Monday, when the Barnette bridge is to open. Those lights are in front of the News-Miner on Terminal Street and the intersection of Illinois Street and Phillips Field Road.

The flashing yellow lights were first used in Alaska in Juneau in 2009 and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities cites national studies saying that they lead to greater safety and fewer accidents..

When the flashing yellow arrow is replaced by the solid yellow arrow, you must stop, according to the state drivers’ manual, “unless you are already within the intersection or so close to the intersection that you cannot stop safely. In that case, proceed through the intersection making the indicated turn.”


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