Tallahassee drivers get tripped on Lucy Street

Q. Elaine, a student driver writes; my mom says you know how to fix things on a road, so I think you should know someone who puts cement curves in the lanes on Lucy Street near Cobb College. You don’t see them at night and people hit them with their cars. Can you help ?

A. First, thank you, Elaine, for understanding your civic responsibility in bringing a very important message to the attention of Street Scene and, in doing so, to those responsible for keeping the citizens of Tallahassee safe. When someone, especially a young driver, sees a problem on our roads and makes the effort to fix it, you are serving your community in an extraordinarily valuable way.

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Second, Street Scene can assist you under this log by conveying your valid concern to those responsible for keeping us safe on our local streets and roads. In this case, it’s the City of Tallahassee Traffic Safety Officials.

You talk about an attempt to calm traffic in the most drastic way. Municipalities all over the world tend to do things that, on the face of it, seem like a good idea. And when first implemented, it seems to achieve the intended result of slowing down the speed of drivers navigating a particular road or street.

Problems arise over time. The time it takes for the nighttime boundary to be destroyed by errant vehicles wiping them out, highlighting our lack of maintenance as well as our credibility in caring for the safety of our motoring public.

Tallahassee has a large transient population consisting primarily of students and parents who occasionally visit these students and most certainly anyone who throngs our streets to and from our sports arenas. Street Scene has a plethora of complaints regarding this very issue, the physical barriers and obstructions placed on our streets.

Some call these appendages intentional traps. A nice lady visiting her student informed Street Scene that she warns her friends, also with Tallahassee students, of the poor foresight given to the design of Tallahassee streets.

Thanks again, Elaine, continue to be safe as you navigate the realm of freedom and responsibility that your driving privilege affords you and please continue your courage to report any road safety anomalies you encounter. I sincerely hope we hear from you again.

Confusion over flashing yellow arrows

Q. Read any newspaper in the country and you will find that it is increasingly evident that flashing yellow arrow traffic lights are not well understood by many licensed drivers, not only in Florida, but also in other states. The universal declaration to the police; “I stop at a yellow light so why don’t I stop at a yellow arrow”. “Also, I don’t need to go through a yellow warning light if I don’t think it’s safe.”

A. Of course, what ensues is frustration on the part of drivers of vehicles who know how to drive, deciding to maneuver around the stopped car by moving into the adjacent through lane, occasionally getting grazed by a passing vehicle. Also reports an increase in the frequency of rear-end collisions.

Education is the only solution. Most states attempt to follow standard best practices for transportation safety with such language as we find in the Official Florida Driver’s License Handbook – Revision 5-22-20 which reads: Yellow Arrow ( turn signal)

  • Turns are permitted in the direction of the arrow.
  • Oncoming traffic has a green light.
  • Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

The keyword here is allowed.

Rotate arrow timing

Q Patricia asks if the south to east left turn arrow at Capital Circle NE and Raymond Diehl Road could be activated without requiring a vehicle to queue in the left turn storage lane.

A. I read Pat’s post this way: When southbound traffic on Capital Circle NE faces a red light at the northwest entrance ramp to I-10, Pat and others wanting to turn left on Raymond Diehl Road have to stop again as the left turn arrow is red causing us to wait a full signal cycle to get the green east arrow. This after waiting forever at the previous intersection.

Pat I don’t think we want to start activating traffic lights when there is no traffic demand. Especially after spending billions of dollars and many years designing and building a computerized road sign system that meets real traffic demands. I understand what you would like to see, but what seems and is quite doable is contrary to reliable and secure electronic assignments of traffic movements.

So the answer to your question is technically yes. The electronic magic available would allow us to do this. This would require the installation of traffic detection equipment at the southbound stop bar of the north-to-westbound I-10 on-ramp linked to the computer equipment in the signal control cabinet at Raymond Diehl Road, tricking the computer into thinking there was a southbound car at Raymond Diehl waiting to turn left.

However, as you imagine yourself and the other thousands of vehicles clogging the northbound through lanes on Capital Circle not being given a green light when there is no visible opposing traffic turning left on Raymond Diehl , you will also be able to view furious phone calls to the city manager, mayor, commissioners and this newspaper.

Let us continue to operate our road sign system for the benefit of the common good.

No more traffic light problems

Q 1. Phill has two traffic light issues: Sometimes at Centerville Road and Welaunee, when all traffic has a red light, the yellow turn light will flash, making it look like it’s okay to turn left on a full red light. Thanks for putting this in good hands.

A. Thank you Phill, your valid concern is in good hands and by the time you read today’s street scene any necessary adjustments may have been understood and made. Please keep me informed.

Q 2. Phill also signals when the green left turn arrow for eastbound Mahan Drive to northbound Dempsey Mayo Road is activated, eastbound signals intermittently turn red then back to green. Pat says direct eastbound signals should stay green throughout the signal cycle to the east-north green arrow.

A. You are absolutely right Phill, having read today’s street scene our traffic engineers will be there to check and correct this anomaly.

Street Scene Philip Stuart Guest Columnist Retired State Trooper Philip Stuart.

Philip Stuart is a former Florida State Trooper, Traffic Operations Projects Engineer, and Forensic Expert Witness. Write to [email protected]

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