Sound Off

Sound Off: Could you decode the crosswalks at the Lawrence Arts Center and at 12th and Kentucky? I’m not sure what all of the options mean for drivers.

Megan Gilliland, a spokeswoman for the city, gave this overview of the process at those two locations. The crosswalk lighting remains “dark” until activated by a pedestrian pushing the button. Then, this sequence occurs: • The vehicle indications “flash” yellow, which means you may proceed through the intersection with caution. • The vehicle indications display a “steady” yellow, which means a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter. • The vehicle indications display a double “steady” red, which means stop. • The vehicle indications alternately “flash” red which means stop, then proceed after yielding to any pedestrians within the crosswalk. • The vehicle indications return to “dark.”


blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

Signals are very confusing especially for occasional users, maybe you could figure the system out if you used the area often The entrances/exits to the parking garage only add to the confusion. Accident waiting to happen! This one and the crossing from the library parking lot across Kentucky Street to the swimming pool seem especially dangerous for children

ksengineer 5 years, 7 months ago

There is nothing non-standard about this. All of the signal modes (flashing yellow, yellow, red and flashing red) should be recognizable to drivers. The design and operation of this type of signal (Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon) is defined in the MUTCD.

One of the advantages to this signal type is that the flashing red mode allows the vehicle traffic to move once the pedestrians have crossed. With a red/amber/green sequence you very often see either insufficient time for the pedestrian crossing or excessive wait times for vehicle traffic.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

You didn't know that you had to stop on red?

Jonathan Fox 5 years, 7 months ago

Most drivers don't know they can pass through during blinking red and remain stopped as if the signal was a traditional red/yellow/green with a longer/shorter than needed red light.

Orwell 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, of course I keep a copy of the MUTCD in the glovebox for just such an occasion. Problem is, I usually cause either a traffic tie-up or a collision when I try to read it as I drive.

Get serious, ksengineer. Most drivers don't even know how to make a legal turn onto a four-lane street.

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

Balderdash! Regardless, the thing is very confusing!

geekin_topekan 5 years, 7 months ago

As a pedestrian, assume that every driver is on the road for one reason, to hit you.

As a driver, assume that every pedestrian is on a cut and duck mission and you're the target.

Don't drive/walk defensively, friendly or any other DOT slogan-ly. Drive Paranoid!!

observer25 5 years, 7 months ago

"should be recognizable to drivers" - except those who are color-blind. My color-blind friend often has to stop at any signal, and wait for someone behind him to honk so that he will know that it has turned green. How about a vertical bar for go, and an X for stop?

Keith 5 years, 7 months ago

Is your color blind friend position blind too? Top is stop, bottom go. Or if you find an old horizontal light, left is stop right is go.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 7 months ago

Observer 25, that is face palm worthy. Red is on the top & green is on the bottom. Cmon, now, drivers should know that, color-blind or not.

kansanbygrace 5 years, 7 months ago

I believe one must know this to pass the Drivers' License exam. It's clearly illustrated and explained in the Driver Safety Handbook.

grimpeur 5 years, 7 months ago

There's a lot of stuff in the handbook that is, apparently, OK to ignore, as a quick examination of our driving habits demonstrates.

engagedecoy 5 years, 7 months ago

If you have ever driven in Lawrence at night, Flashing Yellow and Red signals are very common. Most of the intersections use this mode after a certain time of night. If you can't understand that a flashing light means to proceed with caution or after you have yield to others, then you should not be driving a car. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. This isn't rocket science, it's freaking common sense.

John Hamm 5 years, 7 months ago

How can people honestly say I don't know what to do with these lights? If you don't know from being a "licensed" driver perhaps you should revisit the Kansas Driver's Handbook! Yellow - clear the intersection Red - STOP Off - Same as Green

DillonBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

There is nothing on these lights that is any different than what you run into at a standard stop light. Of course, how many times have I ran into people who can't even manage those.

jacollins 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, but what about those stopped on 12th street? There aren't any east-west lights, and it's tough to tell when the cars on Kentucky are going to go.

KU_cynic 5 years, 7 months ago

Aside from the signal lights, the crossing at LAC appears to me to be no different from the "pedestrians may cross at will" crossings on Mass Street. Especially since there are lots of kids activities at LAC -- including a preschool -- everyone driving should assume (or be prompted) that they don;t have through rights.

Now the 12th Street crossings on Tennessee and Kentucky (this way to and from Mass Street, you drunk college students) appear different. These appear to be pedestrian activated signals. Long-time residents may have a hard time expecting to stop at 12th & Kentucky, but a red light at night should be unambiguous.

Incidentally, at some point there may also be a pedestrian-activated signal crossing directly in front of St. John Church between 12th and 13th on Kentucky. City approval has been given, but it is not funded.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 7 months ago

The only problem with the lights at 12th street is pedestrians entering the intersection before the light turns red. It's happened in front of me several times where the light starts flashing and they then bolt out into the street.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

Nothing = green light

Flashing Yellow = yield

Yellow = impending red, slow down and stop if able

Red = stop

Flashing Red = stop sign, come to a complete stop, proceed if safe

Jean Robart 5 years, 7 months ago

I said the same thing! If I were depending on her instructions to follow those lights, I'd end up in the middle of the intersection, stopping traffic, scratching my head. Could she have made them any more confusing? She must have had her tongue firmly planted in her cheek when she wrote it.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

How about not using this model in the future.

How about the two light system? One that flashes yellow constantly combined with one than turns red quickly at the push of the button? A constantly flashing yellow light is the warning that advises drivers of an upcoming crosswalk ..... so be prepared to stop.

Stop spending so much money on complicated traffic signals! Thank you.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

I certainly don't see how these are complicated, but a constant flashing yellow would be unnecessary at some points. The crosswalk on 19th street just west of Haskell gets used so rarely, it would be a complete waste to have a light that was constantly flashing. Many pedestrians I see there choose to just watch traffic and cross when safe rather than dealing with the crosswalk. Anyway, eventually people become aware of the flashing yellow and begin to ignore that.

average 5 years, 7 months ago

The crosswalk on 19th and Haskell is not used much at all currently because the trail south of there has been closed for the last 6 months (due to the reconstruction of the 23rd street bridges). Presumably there will be more traffic when the trail is re-opened, and more than that in the forseeable future day when the SLT is finished with a connecting trail (meaning pedestrians/cyclists could get to South Iowa locations entirely by trail).

somedude20 5 years, 7 months ago

Cats, if you still don't know what red and yellow means when driving, then stop, because you are not fit for driving. Really? Dumb question!

RoeDapple 5 years, 7 months ago

How has this been up this long and not devolved into an argument about the dumbass roundabouts? . . . .

Unwritten 5 years, 7 months ago

In May, I got t-boned from someone driving west on 12th. I was driving south on Tennessee. The other driver said that he rarely drove on those streets, saw that we had light poles, got confused and ran his stop sign. The lights were off, no one was at the stop light, so I had the complete right of way. I think it is confusing for all four ways. People coming from the other side may miss their stop sign because they are looking for lights. I am used to it, but still slow down everyday as I am now nervous that the same thing will happen again. I think these are a big hazard to people who only pay attention enough to get from point A to B. I am still dealing with my injury and although I am mad at the guy for running his stop sign, I am even more frustrated that people could be confused with these things. It causes way more confusion then need be. I am aware of how these things work, but I can't say the same for everyone and that's kind of scary.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 7 months ago

The "spaces" cut out in speed humps are for emergency vehicles. And bike paths, oh yeah, hilarious.

msezdsit 5 years, 7 months ago

Hmm. I didn't have any idea what to expect but it seemed intuitive enough that it made sense to me. Lots of kids use the cross walk and I think it was a necessary addition even if it has been a little confusing to some to figure out. Its kinda like the roundabouts when your behind someone who doesn't understand them. They usually just do the sure thing and stop and wait for someone to come so they can yield to them. Sometimes they might just wait for a long time.

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