Traffic Signal Timing: Burnett Blvd. at Rt 55, Redux

Just in case you think reporting a problem to NYSDOT will actually produce any action:

Burnett at Rt 55 2015-11-08 - Yellow 5 s after green
Burnett at Rt 55 2015-11-08 – Yellow 5 s after green

Apparently, NYSDOT’s bicycle safety criteria allow greenlighting opposing vehicles onto bicyclists in the middle of intersections, so there’s no particular urgency to fix this non-problem.

They’ve been “studying” that situation, without contacting me for any further information, since July, so you can decide how much they’ve accomplished thus far. I know NYSDOT employees get offended when you call them liars to their face, but they have never, ever produced any evidence showing that I’m wrong.

Yeah, call me a cynic.

12 thoughts on “Traffic Signal Timing: Burnett Blvd. at Rt 55, Redux

  1. Be grateful. You live where drivers – mostly – obey road rules, and indeed, where a country where rules even exist. And where traffic cops are unlikely to be dozing at such intersections.

    1. Aye!

      With all opposing traffic stopped, we’re reasonably safe, although some drivers know we blew through a red light in our direction. I don’t like NYSDOT putting us in that position, because we obey traffic signals at least as well as anybody on the road.

      Our killer will be someone approaching the light at speed in the far right-hand lane who can’t see us through stopped traffic in the center and left lanes. We’ll enter that lane just as he (we can assume a male) blows through the intersection without braking; that car approaches in our right-rear blind spot and we’ll never know what hit us.

      1. When I biked in SF Bay area, a couple of the intersections were bad enough that I’d hit the pedestrian signal buttons. Not that a crosswalk was actually safe, but this gave me enough time to get across the fripping road. Pain in the tail to have to do it twice for a left turn, but some intersections were truly horrible. (My first exposure to California traffic sensors was when I discovered that they were carefully designed to ignore the mass of my 350CC motorcycle. Never got better, especially for a bicycle.) If memory serves, a lot of the intersections had the pedestrian buttons set so a cyclist could hit them.

        My biggest nightmares were the Caltrans-kludged one-lane signals for when a chunk of roadway got obliterated due to a slide or a flood. Those usually warranted a detour if I could. I try to stay out of California as much as possible, and have avoided the big cities for several years now.

        1. I’d hit the pedestrian signal buttons

          We use the pedestrian crossing at that intersection in the other direction, because the roads don’t provide a reasonable bicycle connection from Arlington to the Rail Trail. We take a short section of sidewalk, push the Ped Xing button, then rejoin traffic in the intersection; pedestrians get 20 seconds to cross all six lanes of Rt 55.

          In the direction you see here, I’d dismount, walk the bike+trailer across the sidewalk, push the button, back up and reverse the trailer, walk across Burnett, push another button, walk across Rt 55, remount the bike, and ride on.

          Turning into a pedestrian doesn’t seem like a reasonable alternative to a vehicular cyclist hauling 30 pounds of groceries: intersections should be safe for all legal users…

          1. pedestrians get 20 seconds to cross all six lanes

            Generous! Is NYSDOT staffed by homicidal maniacs? Take that back, do they recruit them?

            1. It might be 30 seconds if you add the “Don’t start now” and “Get clear” warnings to the countdown.

              I think the beeper signal for vision-impaired pedestrians adds a nice touch…

      2. It’s not just the men…

        I was in my car, waiting for the green arrow at an intersection to make a left hand turn. I got the arrow, started to make the turn and halfway in, pedestrians stepped off the curb to cross the street and blocked my way. There I was, stuck in the opposing lane when a girl, more interested in her cell phone than the road ahead plowed into my fender. Whose fault was the accident? Mine of course, I was in the opposing lane. But what was I to do, plow through the pedestrians?

        1. Whose fault was the accident? Mine of course, I was in the opposing lane.

          That’s what I fear will happen to us: not only will we be dead, but it will be our fault for being bicyclists who blew through an obviously red light. That we began rolling on our green won’t count, because we were in the intersection with a green signal for opposing traffic.

          But that’s our problem, not NYSDOT’s problem…

  2. New York State DOT traffic engineers are never fired. NYSDOT management deals with their worst losers by transferring them to the North Carolina DOT, a place where incompetence is rewarded.

    We get revenge by transferring our worst DMV employees to YOU!

    1. The dreaded Revolving Door in full effect! [sigh]

      You’re surely correct about the “never fired” part of the process, though.

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