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Phoenix Monster Traffic Signals

Started by ztonyg, June 24, 2024, 08:50:51 PM

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ztonyg

The City of Phoenix has been replacing (or adding) a number of monster sized traffic signals which far and away have more signal faces and more girth in the mast arm than almost any other traffic signal I've seen (and seem rather overkill for many of the locations that they are being used at). Many of these monster signals also are being installed with flashing yellow arrows (even for some locations where traffic count doesn't seem to warrant it).

Some examples:

This used to be a two way stop up until recently:
https://maps.app.goo.gl/V7bhEHMGkRhhvjUz7

Another example (of a semi-major intersection):
https://maps.app.goo.gl/UQbmggWc2otSQ92RA

An example of this installation at a major intersection:
https://maps.app.goo.gl/UQCQKa1f7tfT5BSn6

This is the typical (former) setup at a major intersection (1 mile south of the above intersection):
https://maps.app.goo.gl/WrBGS5e5CcnjVAr9A


This is what Phoenix used to instal before at minor intersections (similar to the first link):
https://maps.app.goo.gl/NjGBEC4WdsyXbhXG7

I guess this is on par with the new ADOT signals:
https://maps.app.goo.gl/aoTmxiHCT3KM6wKE7

Yet the ADOT signals don't seem to have nearly as much heft.


roadman65

I'm impressed. Arizona doing away with Caltrans mast arms.

Considering someone at ADOT told me Arizona purposely chose Caltrans arms to be like them, this is news.
Every day is a winding road, you just got to get used to it.

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SilverMustang2011

We get signals with beefed up mast arms like this all the time in Florida, at least when they choose to install a mast arm. Down here it's (probably) tied into being able to withstand hurricane-force winds though.

Sonic99

Quote from: ztonyg on June 24, 2024, 08:50:51 PMI guess this is on par with the new ADOT signals:
https://maps.app.goo.gl/aoTmxiHCT3KM6wKE7

Yet the ADOT signals don't seem to have nearly as much heft.

Is it me or does that look like a standard light pole with a signal pole clamped onto it? Like it's not intended to be a singular unit? You can even see on the sides where they've cut a hole to run the wires down. Look at the standard lights at that intersection, they look identical. And those are very clearly u-clamps holding the signal part in place.
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MikeTheActuary

I wish GSV had updated its imagery of the Berlin Turnpike in Newington CT more recently.

In the past year-and-change, ConnDOT has installed some massive traffic light assemblies along the Turnpike (although not quite as many lights were used as Arizona apparently is using).

In the following GSV image, you can see one of the vertical posts for the new assembly.  They are MASSIVE.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/P1NermfNpfSKuHAz5

One of the local media outlets asked about why the new assemblies are so huge.  The response back was partly for safety/durability, and partly for "future proofing", in anticipation of more advanced cameras, etc. eventually being installed, adding to the weight to be borne by the assemblies, and the potential need to run additional cabling.

Roadwarriors79

I'm a fan of the newer signals used by the city of Phoenix. Most of the newer "monster" installs seem to include flashing yellow left arrow signals. Other jurisdictions in the valley still mostly use the older ADOT (or Caltrans) signals for newer installations.

RaulMtz

It seems like only the city of Phoenix and ADOT is installing those straight arm masts. The rest of the cities are still using Caltrans style arms from what I've been seeing, mostly in the east valley at least. I kinda like City of Phoenix' old masts tbh.

Big John

Copying Wisconsin DOT in using the beefy mast arms.

roadman65

Quote from: RaulMtz on June 26, 2024, 05:40:32 PMIt seems like only the city of Phoenix and ADOT is installing those straight arm masts. The rest of the cities are still using Caltrans style arms from what I've been seeing, mostly in the east valley at least. I kinda like City of Phoenix' old masts tbh.

The cities of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco seem to be different from the styles used elsewhere in their states, so I can see Phoenix now being different from the rest of Arizona. 

I just haven't driven enough of Arizona yet to see its statewide usage. Only seen signals in Flagstaff and Winslow as the rest of my visit was I-40 and US 93. The insterstate of course has none, but US 93 used north of I-40 to Vegas. Can't remember if that road had more than one stoplight on it as I remember rural desert from Kingman to the Dam.
Every day is a winding road, you just got to get used to it.

Sheryl Crowe

ztonyg

#9
Quote from: RaulMtz on June 26, 2024, 05:40:32 PMIt seems like only the city of Phoenix and ADOT is installing those straight arm masts. The rest of the cities are still using Caltrans style arms from what I've been seeing, mostly in the east valley at least. I kinda like City of Phoenix' old masts tbh.

Phoenix went from its old masts / mast arms (which were double guy mast arms similar to what Los Angeles used to install) to it's former straight mast arm installs sometime in the mid 2000s, in the late 2010s Phoenix went to the standard of one signal face per lane and within the last year went to the thicker masts / mast arms. Prior to their use of straight mast arms they used ADOT style when they needed longer mast arms but continued to use the standard double guy style for most installations.

One thing Phoenix seems to be doing is slowly eliminating median pole mounted signal heads. This replacement usually coincides with replacing an old ADOT style or double guy mast arm with one of the newer mast arms.

Phoenix also loved/loves doghouse signal heads  for protected/permissive left turns. I say loved because it seems that their preference now is for either a 4 section signal head with a bimodal green/yellow arrow or a 4 secton signal head with a flashing yellow arrow.

Outside of Phoenix, most jurisdictions use some variation of a Caltrans (former ADOT) signal. Tucson / Pima county has yellow signal heads (instead of black signal heads for most of the rest of Arizona). Tempe, Goodyear, downtown Tucson and Gilbert use boxy "modular" signal masts / mast arms (which are very dated looking).   

paulthemapguy

That is rather interesting that Arizona is shying away from the California-style mast arms! I'm guessing that those curved California mast arms aren't strong enough to hold up more than 2-3 signal heads.  If Arizona is going to take the "one head per lane" approach that's catching on in many other states, their 3- to 6-lane approaches will need more signal heads than those curved mast arms will allow. By the way, that "one head per lane" approach is surging in popularity in large part because of the inclusion of FYAs. Plus, arranging signals left-to-right without a variation in vertical position looks a lot cleaner with more than 2-3 heads on the mast arm.
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ztonyg

Quote from: paulthemapguy on June 27, 2024, 03:08:53 PMThat is rather interesting that Arizona is shying away from the California-style mast arms! I'm guessing that those curved California mast arms aren't strong enough to hold up more than 2-3 signal heads.  If Arizona is going to take the "one head per lane" approach that's catching on in many other states, their 3- to 6-lane approaches will need more signal heads than those curved mast arms will allow. By the way, that "one head per lane" approach is surging in popularity in large part because of the inclusion of FYAs. Plus, arranging signals left-to-right without a variation in vertical position looks a lot cleaner with more than 2-3 heads on the mast arm.

The "one head per lane' seems to work okay with the Caltrans type masts / mast arms.

Glendale, AZ uses the Caltrans / former ADOT type masts / mast arms but has all of the signal heads level:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/PrUWV1njt5vcChyU8

https://maps.app.goo.gl/CNXLL4D8Quo5icRN6

Peoria, AZ does something similar (without level signal heads) although there is only one signal head for left turns:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/MMEkTzvRaNdr2rdr6

https://maps.app.goo.gl/CCULYkrNkaJnD4CPA

Phoenix probably follows it to a T (although this is the only intersection I know of where Phoenix installed ADOT masts / mast arms with the signal head per lane setup and this does look a bit goofy:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/kpoW96taocpy3vWcA




paulthemapguy

Quote from: ztonyg on June 27, 2024, 04:14:52 PM
Quote from: paulthemapguy on June 27, 2024, 03:08:53 PMThat is rather interesting that Arizona is shying away from the California-style mast arms! I'm guessing that those curved California mast arms aren't strong enough to hold up more than 2-3 signal heads.  If Arizona is going to take the "one head per lane" approach that's catching on in many other states, their 3- to 6-lane approaches will need more signal heads than those curved mast arms will allow. By the way, that "one head per lane" approach is surging in popularity in large part because of the inclusion of FYAs. Plus, arranging signals left-to-right without a variation in vertical position looks a lot cleaner with more than 2-3 heads on the mast arm.

The "one head per lane' seems to work okay with the Caltrans type masts / mast arms.

Glendale, AZ uses the Caltrans / former ADOT type masts / mast arms but has all of the signal heads level:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/PrUWV1njt5vcChyU8

https://maps.app.goo.gl/CNXLL4D8Quo5icRN6

Peoria, AZ does something similar (without level signal heads) although there is only one signal head for left turns:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/MMEkTzvRaNdr2rdr6

https://maps.app.goo.gl/CCULYkrNkaJnD4CPA

Phoenix probably follows it to a T (although this is the only intersection I know of where Phoenix installed ADOT masts / mast arms with the signal head per lane setup and this does look a bit goofy:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/kpoW96taocpy3vWcA


Oh okay! I stand corrected. I often wondered about the structural soundness of the ones I saw standing in California itself...
Avatar is the last interesting highway I clinched.
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Stephane Dumas

Close but no cigar, there's some Phoenix monster signals wannabe at Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, a northern Montreal suburb.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/ko9nsD1ogjxpiaBr8

I wonder if that would catch on in Quebec and Ontario?

Scott5114

#14
The big chonky mastarms are something popping up nationwide. The newer installs in Norman, OK are like this too. I seem to remember one of Road Guy Rob's videos discussing that they help avoid fatigue from the wind blowing them around.

Personally, I don't care for them aesthetically, but I can't argue with the engineering justification.

(As an aside...Phoenix's street-name signage is kinda gross, and some of the decisions made on where to put them are downright baffling as someone not familiar with the area. What the heck is going on at 20th and Indian School? Why doesn't northbound 35th have a sign for Northern, so you have to look over at the back of the southbound sign?)
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Roadwarriors79

Quote from: Scott5114 on July 04, 2024, 07:03:49 AMThe big chonky mastarms are something popping up nationwide. The newer installs in Norman, OK are like this too. I seem to remember one of Road Guy Rob's videos discussing that they help avoid fatigue from the wind blowing them around.

Personally, I don't care for them aesthetically, but I can't argue with the engineering justification.

(As an aside...Phoenix's street-name signage is kinda gross, and some of the decisions made on where to put them are downright baffling as someone not familiar with the area. What the heck is going on at 20th and Indian School? Why doesn't northbound 35th have a sign for Northern, so you have to look over at the back of the southbound sign?)

Are you talking about 20th Ave and Indian School? I would assume the placement of the signals and signage is due to power lines, and 20th Ave takes a jog crossing Indian School.

As far as 35th Ave and Northern, the city may add a sign later. The old sign was on the power pole on the NE corner.

Scott5114

Quote from: Roadwarriors79 on July 05, 2024, 01:29:12 AMAre you talking about 20th Ave and Indian School? I would assume the placement of the signals and signage is due to power lines, and 20th Ave takes a jog crossing Indian School.

Yeah, that guy. (It was one of the examples in the first post.) It's just very strange to me to have the street name sign on a completely separate pole behind the signal. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

If the reason was to avoid the power lines, they could have hung the sign below the arm, the way Vegas does:


Then at least it would be in a somewhat normal-ish place. Although that would mean they would have to get rid of the line break in "Indian School", which is... also really weird.
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ztonyg

Tucson did it similar to Phoenix (in terms of illuminated street sign placement) although they're phasing out the illuminated signs.

Here is a Tucson illuminated street sign (at a signal) for reference:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/eM3TpSmRJH5kQfMC7

Here's Tucson's newer street sign (non-illuminated) in a similar setup (really old signal here too):

https://maps.app.goo.gl/UuC4oGAgLZSwqQ9L9


Scott5114

Quote from: ztonyg on July 05, 2024, 10:38:28 PMTucson did it similar to Phoenix (in terms of illuminated street sign placement) although they're phasing out the illuminated signs.

That's a shame. I really like the illuminated signs up here (although Vegas can probably justify having them easier, thanks to its 24-hour nature, than Tucson can).

I wouldn't think the newer LED signs would cost too much to operate and maintain. The fluorescent-tube ones probably aren't cheap, though.
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ztonyg





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