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Flashing yellow arrows

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Flashing yellow arrows

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:09 am

Have you seen these? The flashing yellow arrow is apparently supposed to mean that you can turn left, but have to yield to oncoming traffic. It's the same as what used to be the green arrow going dark, but not red, I guess.

I'm not a fan.

To me, yellow means you still have the right of way, but use caution. Flashing yellow is what you see in the early morning/late night at certain intersections when the cross traffic has a flashing red. It means other drivers yield to you, but you should use caution. The first yellow arrow I saw was on east-bound Hwy. 14, just west of 12 by Costco. It was confusion that caused me to stop and assess the situation, which I guess is the idea.

Research indicates that flashing yellow arrows have decreased accidents in certain places:
http://www.channel3000.com/news/Some-Ma ... index.html

That article is from January, but I've only seen flashing arrows show up in the last month.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:01 pm

I made this same complaint in another thread awhile back. They've been in place for several months on the east side.

To me, flashing yellow means exactly what you said, you have the cautious right-of-way and the other people have a flashing red. Which is not the case now.

I can't believe there were a lot of problems with the old way, it seemed to work fine. Of course, the old way of crossing the street seemed to work fine too.

Where's my cane?
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby wack wack » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:13 pm

There are other areas of the US as well as Canada where the flashing arrow is green. Seems to make more sense.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby jman111 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:17 pm

narcoleptish wrote:I can't believe there were a lot of problems with the old way, it seemed to work fine.

One problem, at least, was the requirement to sit and wait for a green arrow to make a left turn- even when there was no oncoming traffic to impede your turn. This tended to cause backups in left turn lanes.

I agree the use of flashing yellow arrows can be confusing. I wonder why they couldn't just use a solid green light (not arrow). Inclusion of a sign ("Left turn yield to oncoming traffic on green", or similar) would be recommended for clarification, but isn't that already the case with green lights?
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:51 pm

wack wack wrote:There are other areas of the US as well as Canada where the flashing arrow is green. Seems to make more sense.


How does that make more sense? Green means go. But you're actually trying to let people know that they can take a left, but need to yield to oncoming traffic.

It's funny: people HATE the John Nolen, E. Wilson, Willy Street, Blair Street intersection. I drive through it daily, north on John Nolen and take a left onto E. Wilson. Daily. I have never seen an accident there. There's no turn lane, only sort of a half-assed lane in the middle that you have to squeeze into. There's no arrow light at all, no signal alerting me to yield to oncoming traffic, because it's apparent that's what you need to do there.

Nothing about that intersection should work, especially when south-bound cars on Blair want to turn into the driveway by the Machinery Row bike shop. But it seems to. Maybe it's because people are more cautious there.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby wack wack » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:59 pm

jjoyce wrote:
wack wack wrote:There are other areas of the US as well as Canada where the flashing arrow is green. Seems to make more sense.


How does that make more sense? Green means go. But you're actually trying to let people know that they can take a left, but need to yield to oncoming traffic.


I dunno, Joyce. I stopped trying to figure out what makes sense to you a long time ago.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby fennel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:04 pm

This was always a flashing green arrow where I've lived, but apparently this is changing in a number of states.
Michigan's DOT page.

The flashing green made sense to me as something like "go intermittently."
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby clyde » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:35 pm

I really like the flashing left arrow - it makes sense to me. Use caution, yield to the oncoming traffic travelling forward, and go when you can.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:39 pm

There's a flashing left arrow (westbound) at the intersection where Troy Drive and Northport separate.

The first time I saw it, I just sat there. I figured yellow means "clear the intersection, the light is changing" and since I wasn't yet in the intersection I ought to wait.

Well, I sat, and I sat, and I sat.

After a long wait, I realized the lights were NEVER changing, and I might as well look for a break in traffic and turn left when I could.

This is the same thing I would do with no flashing yellow arrow, isn't it? So what's the purpose of the arrow? To tell me to go ahead and do what I'd do anyway?

Guess I'd better get used to it, because now they're appearing on Monona Drive too. And I'll remember to ignore them and do what I'd do anyway.

This is a change with no improvement, if you ask me.
...you're actually trying to let people know that they can take a left, but need to yield to oncoming traffic.


As opposed to taking a left without yielding to oncoming traffic, but instead ramming right into it? Ahh -- I see.
Last edited by snoqueen on Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby jman111 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:41 pm

jjoyce wrote:There's no arrow light at all, no signal alerting me to yield to oncoming traffic, because it's apparent that's what you need to do there.

My recommendation for a sign reminding drivers to yield to oncoming traffic appplies only in the situations in which flashing yellow arrows are currently used: designated left turn lanes with separate left turn traffic signals.

A green light (not arrow) instead of a flashing yellow arrow in these situations would create a scenario just like your frequent left turn from John Nolen to E Wilson. I think the fear is that people would see a green light on the left turn signal tree and incorrectly treat it as a green arrow.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:47 pm

snoqueen wrote:There's a flashing left arrow (westbound) at the intersection where Troy Drive and Northport separate.

The first time I saw it, I just sat there. I figured yellow means "clear the intersection, the light is changing" and since I wasn't yet in the intersection I ought to wait.

Well, I sat, and I sat, and I sat.

After a long wait, I realized the lights were NEVER changing, and I might as well look for a break in traffic and turn left when I could.

You must not drive at night very often, once the lights have switched to flashing yellow or red. Or do you just pull up in your jammies and sleep until they switch back to solid lights?
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby Violet_Skye » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:42 pm

We absolutely hate that Northport Drive yellow flashing arrow. I also hate the one on University Avenue heading west which controls turning left to get to Ancora coffee. Completely useless. They flash forever. And rarely, rarely do you get an actual green arrow or light, which makes it a much less equitable arrangement. Definitely adds frustration. As a pedestrian, it also would make things much more dubious re:crossing safely, I would think.

BP: it isn't just in use at night. In the summer I was at that intersection daily at different times, and it's almost always the yellow flashing arrow.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:03 pm

I think it flashes yellow all day, though admittedly I haven't sat there all day to verify that. I think you would wait forever for a green arrow on Northport, because there isn't one.

Glad to know I'm not the only person who doesn't get it. I have a feeling this is one traffic-engineering fad that won't last for long.

Book Police: The flashing arrows we're talking about have nothing to do with the late-night red/yellow four way flashing that starts once traffic gets really light.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:38 pm

snoqueen wrote:Book Police: The flashing arrows we're talking about have nothing to do with the late-night red/yellow four way flashing that starts once traffic gets really light.


Actually, yes, they do. A flashing yellow light at night means to proceed with caution or yield. A flashing yellow arrow means to proceed with caution or yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/flashing-yellow.htm

They are one in the same. The first time I encountered them was on University. There was no question in my mind what to do. I also believe it had this sign:

Image

Come on people. This is drivers ed 101. If you don't know what a flashing yellow means, then you may need to take a refresher course.

jjoyce wrote:I drive through it daily, north on John Nolen and take a left onto E. Wilson. Daily. I have never seen an accident there. There's no turn lane, only sort of a half-assed lane in the middle that you have to squeeze into. There's no arrow light at all, no signal alerting me to yield to oncoming traffic, because it's apparent that's what you need to do there.


I'm guessing there is no arrow because it is an infrequently used turning lane. I personally hate it. I wish they would just make a full turn lane.

This is as bad as the roundabout thread.
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Re: Flashing yellow arrows

Postby david cohen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:27 pm

When they completed the Packers Ave. corridor, they added these damn flashing yellow lefties. At Packers and Commercial, there was an accident every week. It was always someone trying to turn left off Packers onto Commercial. Draw your own conclusions. There are a lot less accidents now..I guess folks are figuring the flashing yellow left turn arrow out.
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