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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Friday, February 7

All turned around

Writing a story about the Broadway Corridor Study that was just conducted to figure out what could improve the traffic flow there and came across an interesting little tidbit that I guess I'd never thought of at the intersection with Broadway and Church/Lake Avenue.

The left-hand turn signal coming off off of Lake/Church is backwards!

What I mean by that is that if you are taking a left from Lake Avenue onto Broadway you will get a green light first, followed by a green left-turn arrow — the reverse of what you might get at, say, any other intersection anywhere.

Some City Council members were questioning the sequence the other night at their meeting but representatives of Greenman-Pedersen Inc., traffic engineers, said there is, in fact, a reason for that.

Apparently, about 30 years ago the light was just like a normal one and you could turn left first, but that meant that they were often turning in front of pedestrians trying to cross Broadway, rather than waiting for them to cross.

With the left-hand turn signal coming second, pedestrians have the opportunity to get a head-start across the road before traffic tries to take that left turn and that will make the traffic wait for them.

In fact, I was sitting in the third-floor of City Hall (in the law library I didn't realize existed) trying to get a good video of the traffic situation at that intersection and I saw this in practice. By the time a car got the green turn arrow, a person was already halfway across the road and the car waited.

So there you go. There is a reason for everything.

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