Sound Off

Sound Off: Why is the stoplight at Sixth and Maine not on a sensor? I’ve sat southbound at the intersection for over 90 seconds without another car coming before without the stoplight changing colors.

Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager, provided this answer: The intersection is coordinated with other signals along Sixth Street; therefore, it must have the same cycle-length and stay green for the main street (regardless of the traffic) until the point in the cycle when the side-street can be given a green.


valgrlku 6 years, 4 months ago

I've wondered the same thing about the light at 17th and Mass. When it does finally change (after 2 minutes of waiting), the light often only lasts 5 seconds. Yes, 5 seconds which we've timed on many occasions - hardly any time for one car to make it through the intersection safely, let alone more than one. This is an issue especially around 8am rush hour. I've looked for a city number to call or email address but could only find a reference to light outages and not timing issues.

Bailey Perkins 6 years, 4 months ago

People should also take into consideration that the 6th and Maine light is only a few blocks from Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Bailey Perkins 6 years, 4 months ago

It was just an idea, seeing how city officials use the same intersection on a daily basis. Also, if you are sick and tired of waiting at the intersection, you are always free to use the turn off lane. Might take you a block out of the way but you would still beat the waiting traffic.

Tony Holladay 6 years, 4 months ago

I wish they'd put it (6h and Maine) back to flashing at night. Half the time it's red (east-west) when I pull up to it and no cars are around.

average 6 years, 4 months ago

Lots of traffic light questions out there to be asked. One that bugs me would be 19th and Iowa. Any reason that SB Iowa->EB 19th can't be permissive ('flashing yellow arrow') at least some of the time the intersection is green to through-on-Iowa? Possibly the best sight lines in all of Lawrence (down the hill), no entrances of suddenly-facing traffic until 21st. And I've sat there for a long time since you are supposed to wait for a green arrow on a whole new cycle.

skinny 6 years, 4 months ago

Samething with the traffic light on Clinton Parkway and Inverness coming from either the south or north. You sit there for almost two minutes. It is crazy. Only in Lawrence!!

RoeDapple 6 years, 4 months ago

I figure if I am in that big of a hurry I should have started sooner. Impatience has no business behind the wheel.

BlackVelvet 6 years, 4 months ago

Of course, if you had started sooner, you would beging waiting sooner.

number3of5 6 years, 4 months ago

Gee, what is 2 minutes of waiting time compared to the rest of your life? We all get in too much of a hurry today anyway. Take time to look around you when at a stop light. You might see something that is beautiful.

somedude20 6 years, 4 months ago

The light that pickles my yogurt is at Havard and Iowa. Even when no cars are going either way, the darn light will stay red for minutes. The little kiddies who press the cross button have to wait longer as well. Fix it for them as you don't want all those kids going to and from school to be exposed to the elements or bad people any longer than they have to be, huh? The light stinks! Staaaaannnnnkkkkksssss......I command you to fix it, thou taker of tax money

kernal 6 years, 4 months ago

That intersection is also really bad for people driving on Iowa running the red light.

average 6 years, 4 months ago

That it is. I've seen it both ways on Iowa, several times, and often not just a 'gunning it to get through amber' run, but a 'light's been totally red and other people are stopped' blow-by. I'd be curious if there are stats on it, because I've seen it there more than anywhere else, but it's also the intersection I'm most likely to go through on a bicycle.

RoeDapple 6 years, 4 months ago

Patience is a virtue.

(Gotta go with the few I've got)

avoice 6 years, 4 months ago

Although my family doesn't live in Lawrence, we spend a lot of time in this city. We've noticed that there is a considerable problem with stoplights in Lawrence, as compared to other towns and cities that take a pro-active approach to traffic management. Especially for a city that touts itself as trying to be green and energy-conservation-minded, the lack of coordination of traffic lights in Lawrence is astounding. Also, as Lawrence seems to like to spend money on consulting services, someone could probably figure out pretty quickly how much wasted fuel and air pollution results in people sitting in idle cars for needlessly extended periods of time.

asixbury 6 years, 4 months ago

It really makes you feel dumb when you're waiting at a stop light with no cross-traffic in sight. Sometimes I am guilty of running those red lights. There is only so long I can wait till my impatience gets the best of me.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 6 years, 4 months ago

Could you please describe any vehicle you drive so that I can stay out of your way? Tag numbers would be great too. Thanks!

asixbury 6 years, 4 months ago

If any car is coming the opposite way, I wouldn't run the red. I am only tempted to do so when I have waited for several minutes with no one in sight. And most of the time I am too chicken to run the light, even if there isn't anyone to catch me.

squawkhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Agree on all the above and just about every other stop light in Lawrence. For a city that prides itself on being very green, it sure does waste a lot of gas with unnecessarily long traffic lights and poorly designed planning. More lights should be "permissive" during low traffic hours and many need to be re-evaluated for their duration at all times.

John Hamm 6 years, 4 months ago

Let's bring up one stupid little thing about sitting at a "red" traffic signal - you automobile get's it's worst gas mileage at idle, zero MPG! How many gallons of gasoline are needlessly wasted waiting for lights to change?

kmoco20 6 years, 4 months ago

Another one: the light at Iowa and Harvard. Iowa gets the green light for minutes at a time, and sometimes Harvard won't even get the green light until someone jumps out of the car and hits the pedestrian crossing button!

BigAl 6 years, 4 months ago

How about when you are going north on Kasold, stopped at the red light on Clinton Parkway. When the light turns green, you go about 100 Yards and stop again to allow one car (while a dozen or more get backed up) to exit from the HyVee shopping center area. At 5:00pm, that backs up traffic quite a bit. This one drives me nuts..!

RoeDapple 6 years, 4 months ago

Here's a thought . . . Every stoplight mentioned can be avoided by taking an alternate route. Street congestion, wasted gas (idling), running lights and impatience can all be avoided by planning your trip to work, the gym or the store in advance. Relax. Unless you're dodging bullets a few seconds do not matter.

Mike Hatch 6 years, 4 months ago

Sure, it's moderately annoying to have a red light for what seems like forever and to have no cross-traffic during that time...but what about lights that really never change? In the last month and a half, I've been stuck in turn lanes (15th and Iowa and 6th & Wakarusa) that wouldn't cycle the green turn arrow. Something must have malfunctioned; it was kind of scary getting out of those turn lanes as traffic kept building up in the turn lanes--cars in front and back of me wanted to get out of the turn lane too, so it took some doing to get out of the turn lane and into the lane going straight to finally get out of there.

Outsidelookingin 6 years, 4 months ago

If we can all just pause for a moment, and look at the safety and convience of it all. Stop lights that stay red, allow for texting and make up application during the early morning rush hour. This makes it safer for the rest of us.

Kyle Neuer 6 years, 4 months ago

OMG! 90 whole seconds! Why, you could have cured cancer in all that time.

You really need to learn to relax and enjoy the down time. It'll still be there.

jayhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

Many years ago, I came upon a light with a sensor. I was riding a small motorcycle, not heavy enough to trigger the sensor, I guess. It was late at night with no other traffic for miles around. I felt foolish for a couple of minutes, just sitting there, not a car in sight. Then I ran the red light. I hope the sensors have improved in the years since.

gphawk89 6 years, 4 months ago

They haven't. Probably a quarter of the lights I stop at (with a rather heavy motorcycle) don't change. You soon learn which will work and which won't and run them (after stopping and looking, of course). It's legal to do that in KS as of last year.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 4 months ago

6th Street is state highway. The choice is not ours to make. The highway has priority. Besides, 1.5 minutes is not very long.

Blessed4x 6 years, 4 months ago

It has nothing to do with the weight of the vehicle but more importantly the amount of metal present. Most older lights have magnetic loop detection which senses a change in the magnetic field above the in-pavement wire loop (ie a mass of metal like a car or motorcycle). Many times bicycles will not activate the loop detection and occasionally I have seen smaller motorcycles like mopeds that will not activate the signal. I won't speak to any actual locations in Lawrence because I am simply not very familiar anymore with that city.

Most newer lights that are installed have some form of video detection which works in much the same way. The camera is allowed to set a "datum" or non-vehicle standard for a specific area on the screen as the camera points at the pavement in advance of the signal. As vehicles pass into this area of "vision", the signal is tripped and will begin a series of adjustments to allow that vehicle to pass safely. There are minimum times for different phases of the signal timing that allow engineers to give more importance to the primary roadway (you can't stop 1000 cars to let 1 thru immediately and every time that the 1 approaches a busy intersection from a little used side street).

It may not seem like it, but signal activation is an incredibly complicated and involved science. Unlike other sciences, you have the added difficulty of an unknown data set as well as unreasonable driver expectations. Couple those factors with the impatience we all seem to develop when we get behind the wheel and the expense of installing new, more advanced signals and you have a recipe for heartburn. This is a science that will never be mastered. The best I can suggest to you is that if a certain light bothers you that much, leave the house 1 signal cycle sooner, or travel an alternate route.

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