Lane Ranger: Blinking yellow turn arrow a cause for concern
Published: Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 9:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 9:26 p.m.
All those flashing yellow left-turn arrows popping up at signals across Gainesville have generated several emails from readers, including one from Margaret Jones regarding the signal at Newberry Road and 91st Street.
The yellow arrows seem to have fans among motorists. Jones said the intersection used to have a yellow arrow.
“Then one day, it was changed. … You can NO LONGER turn with CAUTION,” she wrote in an email, complete with frown emoticons. “I’d like to see a yellow blinking arrow, or whatever color light means you can turn with caution from Newberry Road on to 91st Street. … It is NOT a SMART light, as there are times when those of us in the turn lane will wait FOREVER, and no one is in sight on Newberry Road. If we had a yellow blinking arrow onto 91st, it’d surely save a lot of time & gas, because that light definitely isn’t SMART!!!”
Matthew Weisman, traffic operations manager for the city, said that that section of Newberry Road is under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation. He said the state changed the signal for safety.
“Many years ago, because of the sight distance due to the bend in Newberry Road traveling east toward this intersection, the FDOT decided to make this left-turn protected only,” Weisman said. “The cycle changes throughout various times of day to maintain east/west coordination with 98th Street and Fort Clarke Boulevard.”
Meanwhile, a reader wrote in with a suggestion for the signal at the north end of Fort Clarke Boulevard. He said that westbound drivers on Northwest 23rd Avenue turning left onto Fort Clarke tend to cut the corner a bit. That trips the light to green for northbound Fort Clarke traffic turning onto 23rd Avenue — even when no cars are waiting to turn.
“I know that neither you nor I are going to be able to stop our awesome drivers in the city of Gainesville from cutting the corner and tripping the light to change,” he wrote. “I have a suggestion that I would like to offer to your contacts. That is that somehow they can put a timer on the plate that causes the light to switch. Something like a 10-second constant contact with the plate might be helpful.”