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dubone

Why do Charlottean's need traffic lights above each lane?

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In this city, it is a foregone conclusion that every lane of traffic will have a signal above it, either with the expensive arms, or with the ugly ones strung from a mess of overhead wires.

I can understand this for really large streets, and for suburban streets, where people tend to to be driving fast and not caring about what is at the side of the road. However, in the urban center, especially on streets with only a couple lanes, there is no reason we couldn't just have the pole at the side of the road.

I was in a number of cities in the last few months, like Charleston, SF, DC where most of the intersections where signalled with lights just at the side and not over head. It was shocking to not have the visual clutter, but in a good way.

It makes me wonder why our DOT doesn't have faith in our drivers. It's not like stop signs are put overhead, but traffic signals are bright colored lights. Why couldn't people be expected to see them. As the city has been commited to converting the signals to the mast arm ones, it seems that just putting the signal lights on just a vertical pole at the side would be far cheaper. With new LED technology, they might be able to do some additional attention-gaining techniques like strobes in the ground, (like they have for the pedestrian crossing at 6th and Pine) or even LEDs with the actual signal color (Red, Yellow or Green), with the official light at the side.

I think it is about time we start expecting our peer drivers and ourselves to pay attention to the signs at the right and stop spending tremendous amounts of money bending over backward to give every lane their own private signal.

At first brush, it would seem to cause an increase in accidents, but I think people would very quickly reallize that the signal is on the right, and actually look. No one wants to be in an accident, and people might even slow down because it creates a different design than the higher speed suburban street most Charlottean drivers are used to.

How do people feel about those style of traffic lights? What do people who lived in cities that use them feel about them?

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As long as the sight lines are ok, then why not. Between the power lines and the street lights, our city looks ugly from the ground.

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The big roads like Fairview, should have them in the air, but a normal ol' road, and especially the downtown roads, should have the on the side. Having them on the side is charming, easy to maintain, and probably more cost-effective.

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I am not sure that you could put a single post on the side of the road to handle a roadway with 2 lanes plus a turn lane in each direction which are how a great number of Charlotte intersections are made up.

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I think the way traffic signals are done in Naples, Fl is very attractive. Instead of having the traditional clunky yellow lights hanging over the middle of the intersection they have one sided natural looking green arms with small circular lights embedded. The actual lights are much smaller but the illumination is equally bright. I was surprised how much more aesthetically pleasing roads can be with more tasteful traffic lights.

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I am not sure that you could put a single post on the side of the road to handle a roadway with 2 lanes plus a turn lane in each direction which are how a great number of Charlotte intersections are made up.

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I did a bit of looking around, and all NCDOT maintained roads use this manual as the design guide for signal placement. There are a number of NC general statutes that dictate this. If you look at Section 3, it dictates that signal heads be above the center line of the highway and there is no option for a post on the side of the road. At least some of the roads that go through the center city, I suspect are maintained by the NCDOT so they have to follow this standard. My guess is that the CDOT also follows these guidelines to maintain consistency for safety reasons.

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Okay, I see now, so it is proscribed by law.

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Those type of traffic lights take some getting used to. In DC, I was about to run more than one light because I'm so used to them being abovehead. And combine that with driving in one of those hellishly confusing traffic circles (e.g., Dupont Circle), I nearly had to take a valium. :)

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Those type of traffic lights take some getting used to. In DC, I was about to run more than one light because I'm so used to them being abovehead. And combine that with driving in one of those hellishly confusing traffic circles (e.g., Dupont Circle), I nearly had to take a valium. :)

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How long ago was that? I was just in DC yesterday, noticing these lights again. I can't imagine not noticing them. I wonder if the new LED traffic lights make them much more noticeable.

You're on your own for the rest :).

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Hmm, I can't remember the year for the first time I went to DC. It would have been around 1986ish. I absolutely loved it and still do, so I've been back many, many times since then. I don't have a problem with the lights now. Or the street naming scheme. And I'm a little wiser on hookers as well. ;)

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Did you have trouble identifying the hooker's because their red lights were off to the side, rather than right above them? :)

But hooker identification is a useful skill to have.

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Did you have trouble identifying the hooker's because their red lights were off to the side, rather than right above them? :)

But hooker identification is a useful skill to have.

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Those type of traffic lights take some getting used to. In DC, I was about to run more than one light because I'm so used to them being abovehead. And combine that with driving in one of those hellishly confusing traffic circles (e.g., Dupont Circle), I nearly had to take a valium. :)

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Personally, I like the lights being overhead. What I DON'T like is the fact that we string them from one dead pine tree pole to another from wires that sag over the streets. That has always struck me as very small-townish, not to mention ugly. Yeah, I know plenty of cities do it that way, but it doesn't make it any less unattractive.

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How long ago was that? I was just in DC yesterday, noticing these lights again. I can't imagine not noticing them. I wonder if the new LED traffic lights make them much more noticeable.

You're on your own for the rest :).

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