Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I submit my third request for safety assessment.

While it appeared that my first two requests for safety assessment were just brushed off to "business as usual" the management decided to review both requests for further study. A small victory over lumbering self serving bureaucracy we will see if anything is done about them at some point.


This is my third request:

I have been driving the 58 bus this sign up and I am surprised to find out that the walk lights at the intersections where the light rail/ street car cross DO NOT HAVE COUNTDOWN CLOCKS!

This will lead to additional accidents as many drivers (not only professional) will be unaware of what state the green light is currently at.

It would make sense to have a countdown clock at these intersections so drivers won't "take chances" getting through stale lights.

Surprisingly, the cross streets do have countdown cross walk signals.

9 comments:

punkrawker4783 said...

Those are usually put in by the city as they need replacing. The non-countdown versions are everywhere still. As a person who thinks Safety First, I would tell you to be cautious at those intersections, know if they are timed, or on-demand, try to study the flashing hands time. I know many of the ones i see range from 7-12 seconds. I have 2 on my new route that are no joke, 5 seconds, so I see hand I just prepare to stop. I hate slamming on the breaks too, but you have to be on your game. Sorry to sound like I'm not siding with you on this one, but the non-countdown versions have been around for years, and there havent been many problems. Just be ready to stop if your not sure, and once you enter that zone of no return, accelerate. And you can apply this to your bus, and personal auto. =)

Jeff Welch said...

Pedestrian signals are meant for pedestrians. While we as Operators often use these "countdown" lights as a guide to the status of a green light - that's neither what they're designed nor intended for.

I'm wary of setting an official precedent by having such a feature installed not for pedestrians - but for the explicit use of drivers.

Chris Day said...

Just a reminder that our training tells us if you did not see the light turn green then it is a stail green light and the intersection should not be entered. At least that is what you will hear from the training department is my guess.

Max said...

Punkrawker:
The intersections Al is talking about have count down timers in one direction (along the mall) but not in the other (crossing the mall). The two signs are both brand new and are even mounted on the same pole. They even have the light elements for the counter, they're just inactive.

Jeff:
TriMet trains drivers when driving down the mall to look at the counters to determine how fresh/stale a light is. Granted Al is crossing the mall, but it is still usual that they have the timers active in one direction at a given intersection but not the other.

Al M said...

If safety is what the idea is, then the countdown clocks are only useful.
It completely removes the element of randomness if the clock is clearly visible, not only to pedestrians, but buses, cars, and bicycles.

The only place that they are NOT located is at the intersections of the rail lines, the one place that they would be of greatest use.

punkrawker4783 said...

Like I said, and Jeff mentions, those are for Peds to know when to cross (and if they know they have 2 seconds, they will take it). If this is Downtown that your referring to, the hands blink for 7 seconds (except on Burnside), and you have less than 10 seconds before a red light. While the clocks are "useful", they are a convenience, and not a safety issue nor required for your day-to-day driving needs. Yellow lights are timed for the speed limit, if your too close and it changes yellow, you should be able to clear the intersection, if your going too fast, it may appear the light is short.

Drive safe out there, expect the unexpected (which is around almost every corner).

Chris Day said...

it would be nice if all traffic lights had count downs and they where all consistant to a standard count down. All around town different lights act differently and it sure does put any driver to task weather it be bus or car.

Jeff Welch said...

I think folks are missing the mark here. Pedestrian signals are for pedestrians - not vehicles. I know TriMet trains drivers to use the ped countdowns to guage whether a green light is "cold", they do it here at KC Metro too - but only unofficially. Thing is, all of those countdowns are different depending on the intersection, and they aren't all coordinated with the corresponding signal controlling vehicle traffic. As such they are both unreliable and inappropriate as inidicators as to when the light will change. We already have something for letting us know when the signal will change - it's called a "yellow light".

The real problem isn't a lack of pedestrian countdown clocks (which aren't for vehicles at all), but "lighting yellows" that change too quickly for a large passenger vehicle (read "transit bus") to either clear the intersection or safely stop in time without launching passengers into seats and down the aisles.

Want to raise and document a REAL safety issue? Start timing yellows at problem intersections, and submitting safety requests that the timing on the yellows be extended 1-2 seconds before switching to red. If you are met with arguments by city planners that this will slow down traffic flow - simply suggest that they shave the 1-2 seconds off of the time the light is green and it's a zero-sum game time-wise.

-jw

Al M said...

The real problem isn't a lack of pedestrian countdown clocks (which aren't for vehicles at all), but "lighting yellows" that change too quickly for a large passenger vehicle (read "transit bus") to either clear the intersection or safely stop in time without launching passengers into seats and down the aisles.

Ya know what?
Your right on!
I'm going to amend my safety request!