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Author Topic: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals  (Read 2003 times)

Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2017, 01:07:39 PM »


Unless my assessment is incorrect, Tulsa charges drivers with red light running, even if they enter on yellow.

Yup.  But so does Oregon and Washington.  I legitimately question whether or not places that don't do this actually exist.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2017, 01:18:05 PM »

LA or almost anywhere in California doesnít from my experience.
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kphoger

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2017, 02:38:21 PM »

Quote from: Tulsa Code of Ordinances, Title 37, Chapter 6, Section 606 B.
Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the red "stop" signal shall be exhibited immediately thereafter and such vehicular traffic shall not be crossing the intersection or signalized location when such red signal is successively exhibited.

Not exactly uncommon for various places to expect you to be completely out of the intersection by the time the light turns red.  I grew up with effectively the same rule in Oregon.

That law makes no fucking sense. I'm not allowed to enter on a yellow light if my magical gypsy senses tell me the signal will turn red? I'm surprised there aren't more accidents in Tulsa, caused by drivers slamming on their brakes when they see a yellow light, because they have no idea when the light will be red. Here in Washington, as long as I enter the intersection on yellow, I'm good. Period.

Here's an idea, Tulsa: stop micro-managing the meaning of lights. And fix your signals.

For reference, here is how it's worded in the Uniform Vehicle Code:

Quote from: UVC 2000, Chapter 11-202
(b) Steady yellow indication
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

And here is how it's worded in the MUTCD:

Quote from: MUTCD 2009, Chapter 4D.04
Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is thereby warned that the related green movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated or that a steady red signal indication will be displayed immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection. The rules set forth concerning vehicular operation under the movement(s) being terminated shall continue to apply while the steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is displayed.

The highlighted portion is certainly missing from Tulsa's ordinance, but you'll notice that it's also missing from the UVC, and we may assume thereby that it is also missing from most jurisdictions' ordinances.  Tulsa is far from the only place where entering an intersection on a yellow light is considered an infraction.  I remember my wife being pulled over several years ago in Princeton, Minnesota, for entering on a yellow light.  Neither one of us had heard of that being against the law, but the officer informed us that's how it's applied there.  The pertinent law in Minnesota is as follows (also missing the applicable highlighted text above):

Quote from: Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169.06, Subd. 5
(2) Steady yellow indication:
(i) Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic must not enter the intersection, except for the continued movement allowed by any green arrow indication simultaneously exhibited.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2017, 02:41:07 PM »

Quote from: Tulsa Code of Ordinances, Title 37, Chapter 6, Section 606 B.
Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the red "stop" signal shall be exhibited immediately thereafter and such vehicular traffic shall not be crossing the intersection or signalized location when such red signal is successively exhibited.

Not exactly uncommon for various places to expect you to be completely out of the intersection by the time the light turns red.  I grew up with effectively the same rule in Oregon.

That law makes no fucking sense. I'm not allowed to enter on a yellow light if my magical gypsy senses tell me the signal will turn red? I'm surprised there aren't more accidents in Tulsa, caused by drivers slamming on their brakes when they see a yellow light, because they have no idea when the light will be red. Here in Washington, as long as I enter the intersection on yellow, I'm good. Period.

Here's an idea, Tulsa: stop micro-managing the meaning of lights. And fix your signals.

For reference, here is how it's worded in the Uniform Vehicle Code:

Quote from: UVC 2000, Chapter 11-202
(b) Steady yellow indication
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

And here is how it's worded in the MUTCD:

Quote from: MUTCD 2009, Chapter 4D.04
Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is thereby warned that the related green movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated or that a steady red signal indication will be displayed immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection. The rules set forth concerning vehicular operation under the movement(s) being terminated shall continue to apply while the steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is displayed.

The highlighted portion is certainly missing from Tulsa's ordinance, but you'll notice that it's also missing from the UVC, and we may assume thereby that it is also missing from most jurisdictions' ordinances.  Tulsa is far from the only place where entering an intersection on a yellow light is considered an infraction.  I remember my wife being pulled over several years ago in Princeton, Minnesota, for entering on a yellow light.  Neither one of us had heard of that being against the law, but the officer informed us that's how it's applied there.  The pertinent law in Minnesota is as follows (also missing the applicable highlighted text above):

Quote from: Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169.06, Subd. 5
(2) Steady yellow indication:
(i) Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic must not enter the intersection, except for the continued movement allowed by any green arrow indication simultaneously exhibited.

I don't see this as being inconsistent with how it's being enforced.  Once the red light is on, the movement being controlled has been terminated and you've had sufficient warning to stop knowing that the movement was terminating.
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kphoger

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2017, 02:46:37 PM »

Quote from: Tulsa Code of Ordinances, Title 37, Chapter 6, Section 606 B.
Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the red "stop" signal shall be exhibited immediately thereafter and such vehicular traffic shall not be crossing the intersection or signalized location when such red signal is successively exhibited.

Not exactly uncommon for various places to expect you to be completely out of the intersection by the time the light turns red.  I grew up with effectively the same rule in Oregon.

That law makes no fucking sense. I'm not allowed to enter on a yellow light if my magical gypsy senses tell me the signal will turn red? I'm surprised there aren't more accidents in Tulsa, caused by drivers slamming on their brakes when they see a yellow light, because they have no idea when the light will be red. Here in Washington, as long as I enter the intersection on yellow, I'm good. Period.

Here's an idea, Tulsa: stop micro-managing the meaning of lights. And fix your signals.

For reference, here is how it's worded in the Uniform Vehicle Code:

Quote from: UVC 2000, Chapter 11-202
(b) Steady yellow indication
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

And here is how it's worded in the MUTCD:

Quote from: MUTCD 2009, Chapter 4D.04
Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is thereby warned that the related green movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated or that a steady red signal indication will be displayed immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection. The rules set forth concerning vehicular operation under the movement(s) being terminated shall continue to apply while the steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is displayed.

The highlighted portion is certainly missing from Tulsa's ordinance, but you'll notice that it's also missing from the UVC, and we may assume thereby that it is also missing from most jurisdictions' ordinances.  Tulsa is far from the only place where entering an intersection on a yellow light is considered an infraction.  I remember my wife being pulled over several years ago in Princeton, Minnesota, for entering on a yellow light.  Neither one of us had heard of that being against the law, but the officer informed us that's how it's applied there.  The pertinent law in Minnesota is as follows (also missing the applicable highlighted text above):

Quote from: Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169.06, Subd. 5
(2) Steady yellow indication:
(i) Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic must not enter the intersection, except for the continued movement allowed by any green arrow indication simultaneously exhibited.

I don't see this as being inconsistent with how it's being enforced.  Once the red light is on, the movement being controlled has been terminated and you've had sufficient warning to stop knowing that the movement was terminating.

As I read it, only the MUTCD specifically states whether the green light phase or red light phase is still in force (and it says the green is).  All the other codes I quoted just leave it at "green movement is being terminated" and leave us wondering whether that means the prohibition has already take effect yet or not.  After all, the phrase "is being terminated" sounds a lot like it's already over as soon as the yellow comes on.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2017, 02:49:48 PM »

Quote from: Tulsa Code of Ordinances, Title 37, Chapter 6, Section 606 B.
Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the red "stop" signal shall be exhibited immediately thereafter and such vehicular traffic shall not be crossing the intersection or signalized location when such red signal is successively exhibited.

Not exactly uncommon for various places to expect you to be completely out of the intersection by the time the light turns red.  I grew up with effectively the same rule in Oregon.

That law makes no fucking sense. I'm not allowed to enter on a yellow light if my magical gypsy senses tell me the signal will turn red? I'm surprised there aren't more accidents in Tulsa, caused by drivers slamming on their brakes when they see a yellow light, because they have no idea when the light will be red. Here in Washington, as long as I enter the intersection on yellow, I'm good. Period.

Here's an idea, Tulsa: stop micro-managing the meaning of lights. And fix your signals.

For reference, here is how it's worded in the Uniform Vehicle Code:

Quote from: UVC 2000, Chapter 11-202
(b) Steady yellow indication
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

And here is how it's worded in the MUTCD:

Quote from: MUTCD 2009, Chapter 4D.04
Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is thereby warned that the related green movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated or that a steady red signal indication will be displayed immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection. The rules set forth concerning vehicular operation under the movement(s) being terminated shall continue to apply while the steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is displayed.

The highlighted portion is certainly missing from Tulsa's ordinance, but you'll notice that it's also missing from the UVC, and we may assume thereby that it is also missing from most jurisdictions' ordinances.  Tulsa is far from the only place where entering an intersection on a yellow light is considered an infraction.  I remember my wife being pulled over several years ago in Princeton, Minnesota, for entering on a yellow light.  Neither one of us had heard of that being against the law, but the officer informed us that's how it's applied there.  The pertinent law in Minnesota is as follows (also missing the applicable highlighted text above):

Quote from: Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169.06, Subd. 5
(2) Steady yellow indication:
(i) Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic must not enter the intersection, except for the continued movement allowed by any green arrow indication simultaneously exhibited.

I don't see this as being inconsistent with how it's being enforced.  Once the red light is on, the movement being controlled has been terminated and you've had sufficient warning to stop knowing that the movement was terminating.

As I read it, only the MUTCD specifically states whether the green light phase or red light phase is still in force (and it says the green is).  All the other codes I quoted just leave it at "green movement is being terminated" and leave us wondering whether that means the prohibition has already take effect yet or not.  After all, the phrase "is being terminated" sounds a lot like it's already over as soon as the yellow comes on.

Either way, knowing that there are places that take the safer and more restrictive view on it, it should be considered a best practice.  Much like not driving in the left lane if you're not passing or about to take a left turn/ramp.
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2017, 02:57:38 PM »

Unless my assessment is incorrect, Tulsa charges drivers with red light running, even if they enter on yellow.

Yup.  But so does Oregon and Washington.  I legitimately question whether or not places that don't do this actually exist.

I assure you, they don't. Here in Washington (and I believe the law is the same in Oregon), it is only illegal to pass over the stop line on red. It is absolutely legal to enter on yellow, and there's no way you'd be ticketed for doing so. It's not illegal to speed up to get through the yellow either, assuming you don't exceed the limit. Yellow only means that the light will soon be red. That's it.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2017, 03:00:59 PM »

Unless my assessment is incorrect, Tulsa charges drivers with red light running, even if they enter on yellow.

Yup.  But so does Oregon and Washington.  I legitimately question whether or not places that don't do this actually exist.

I assure you, they don't. Here in Washington (and I believe the law is the same in Oregon), it is only illegal to pass over the stop line on red. It is absolutely legal to enter on yellow, and there's no way you'd be ticketed for doing so. It's not illegal to speed up to get through the yellow either, assuming you don't exceed the limit. Yellow only means that the light will soon be red. That's it.

You might want to doublecheck with WSP on that.  And OSP.
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2017, 03:14:32 PM »

Unless my assessment is incorrect, Tulsa charges drivers with red light running, even if they enter on yellow.

Yup.  But so does Oregon and Washington.  I legitimately question whether or not places that don't do this actually exist.

I assure you, they don't. Here in Washington (and I believe the law is the same in Oregon), it is only illegal to pass over the stop line on red. It is absolutely legal to enter on yellow, and there's no way you'd be ticketed for doing so. It's not illegal to speed up to get through the yellow either, assuming you don't exceed the limit. Yellow only means that the light will soon be red. That's it.

You might want to doublecheck with WSP on that.  And OSP.

Look, I don't really know what the situation is in Oregon. But WSP enforces the RCW. The meaning of signals in Washington is defined under RCW 46.61.055:

Quote from: RCW 46.61.055
2: Steady yellow indication
(a) Vehicle operators facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal are thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection.

Basically, yellow means that a green light is ending, and a red light will soon appear. Once the red light appears, you may not enter the intersection (because entering on red without stopping is illegal).
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7/8

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »

That ordinance also implies the customary practice of entering an intersection on flashing yellow arrow/green ball when making a permissive left turn and clearing the intersection on yellow/red should no gap in traffic present itself to be illegal in Tulsa.

Yes, that is correct, Tulsa bans this practice.  Like being clear of the intersection by the time the light turns red, it's a common and reasonable enough restriction that it's best practice to just do it anyway.  Not to mention a courtesy to other people...

Quote from: Tulsa Code of Ordinances Title 37 Chapter 6 Section 634
No driver shall enter an intersection or a marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection and crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle he is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians, notwithstanding any traffic-control signal indication to proceed.

If you always make permissive lefts from behind the stop bar, then you must've experienced situations without a left turn arrow where opposing traffic is so busy you can't make your left. Then what do you do?

1 or more cars moving into the intersection on a permissive left guarantees that they'll make their turn, even if it's on the all-red, which helps keep traffic moving and isn't dangerous (since no one else is moving on the all-red).

The law you quoted suggests to me that it would be illegal to enter the intersection if the road you're turning on is blocked with traffic. Usually this isn't the case. If you make your left in the all-red and your car successfully leaves the intersection, then you didn't obstruct any traffic.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2017, 09:20:52 PM »

That ordinance also implies the customary practice of entering an intersection on flashing yellow arrow/green ball when making a permissive left turn and clearing the intersection on yellow/red should no gap in traffic present itself to be illegal in Tulsa.

Yes, that is correct, Tulsa bans this practice.  Like being clear of the intersection by the time the light turns red, it's a common and reasonable enough restriction that it's best practice to just do it anyway.  Not to mention a courtesy to other people...

Quote from: Tulsa Code of Ordinances Title 37 Chapter 6 Section 634
No driver shall enter an intersection or a marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection and crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle he is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians, notwithstanding any traffic-control signal indication to proceed.

If you always make permissive lefts from behind the stop bar, then you must've experienced situations without a left turn arrow where opposing traffic is so busy you can't make your left. Then what do you do?

Patience is a virtue.  Though if it looks like traffic is coming the other direction is heavy and there's no protected movement, I will generally find an alternative route rather than opt for the left turn.

The law you quoted suggests to me that it would be illegal to enter the intersection if the road you're turning on is blocked with traffic. Usually this isn't the case. If you make your left in the all-red and your car successfully leaves the intersection, then you didn't obstruct any traffic.

I read it as it being equivalent to a "Don't Block the Box" sign posted.  If you can't make it from the stop bar to the other side of the intersection in one movement, you cannot proceed.
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2017, 10:40:49 PM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before? Have you been ticketed for it? Were you in a crash because of it? Because pulling forward to turn on a green light, and turning (if necessary) on red is very common. Some parts of the US don't do it as often as others (such as in your native Oregon), but nowhere to my knowledge is it illegal to perform the maneuver. Blocking the box applies when you enter on green or yellow, knowing that you won't be able to leave even after the light turns red. As far as I know, even in Tulsa, the maneuver is legal, so long as you don't enter on yellow.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2017, 12:05:46 AM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before?

It's bad practice at best and it's illegal where I typically drive.  I take pride in being a good driver.
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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2017, 12:50:31 AM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before?

It's bad practice at best and it's illegal where I typically drive.  I take pride in being a good driver.

Around here, if you donít pull into the intersection you will get honked at. I like the practice because it generally allows more cars to turn left on one light cycle. I learned in drivers ed that you should pull 1/3 of the way into the intersection while waiting on a permissive green.
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2017, 01:26:59 AM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before?

It's bad practice at best and it's illegal where I typically drive.  I take pride in being a good driver.

It's not bad practice. Being stubborn and refusing to drive like everyone else, based on some fallacy of the practice somehow being illegal...that's bad practice.
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compdude787

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2017, 02:00:53 AM »

The whole point of edging your way into the intersection to make a left turn is so that once you do make the turn, you can do it quicker and thus need less time to make the turn. That way, you won't have to wait for as long of a gap as you would if you're further back behind the stop line. It's safer and you don't piss off other drivers by not edging forward like you're supposed to.

jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2017, 03:28:29 AM »

The whole point of edging your way into the intersection to make a left turn is so that once you do make the turn, you can do it quicker and thus need less time to make the turn. That way, you won't have to wait for as long of a gap as you would if you're further back behind the stop line. It's safer and you don't piss off other drivers by not edging forward like you're supposed to.

Absolutely. I've always found visibility from behind the stop line to be very poor. Pulling forward has always made it easier for me to see. I tend to pull out at an angle, which a lot of people aren't keen on (due to the whole rear-end crash theory), but it helps me see. Never mind the fact that the turn is a lot shorter from farther forward (and requires less of a gap, as you say).
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2017, 01:55:19 PM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before?

It's bad practice at best and it's illegal where I typically drive.  I take pride in being a good driver.

It's not bad practice. Being stubborn and refusing to drive like everyone else, based on some fallacy of the practice somehow being illegal...that's bad practice.

You can't see as well when you're in the intersection (due to the oncoming left turn pocket usually), and you're certainly not going to be able to see the signal as easily or be detected for a protected arrow where one is possible.  Plus, at least in Tulsa, it is illegal to stop in an intersection under Tulsa city code title 37, chapter 5, section 522(c).  "Everyone else is doing it" is a pretty bad example, or running red lights, passing bicycles too closely and texting while driving would all be "good practice" under that logic.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 02:02:06 PM by Baloo Uriza »
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2017, 03:06:15 PM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before?

It's bad practice at best and it's illegal where I typically drive.  I take pride in being a good driver.

It's not bad practice. Being stubborn and refusing to drive like everyone else, based on some fallacy of the practice somehow being illegal...that's bad practice.

You can't see as well when you're in the intersection (due to the oncoming left turn pocket usually), and you're certainly not going to be able to see the signal as easily or be detected for a protected arrow where one is possible.

Here's where pulling forward helps dramatically...this is a video I made of a lagging left (taken at this intersection):


- The off-set left turns reduce visibility at the stop line, so I pull forward to see better
- Sitting forward in the intersection reduces the distance between where I'm "setting off" and the point that I exit the intersection
- The lagging left, in this instance, allows me to pull forward, skip the green arrow, and turn on red, allowing oncoming traffic more time to continue. If I waited at the stop line, the signal would give me a green arrow at the end, forcing them all to stop and give way to me. Which is unnecessary, because I could have turned behind them after the light turned red. If there were more cars behind me, they would have tripped the arrow anyway.

To add: you don't need a green arrow to turn left, ever. They improve capacity, yes. But they're not strictly necessary.

Plus, at least in Tulsa, it is illegal to stop in an intersection under Tulsa city code title 37, chapter 5, section 522(c).  "Everyone else is doing it" is a pretty bad example, or running red lights, passing bicycles too closely and texting while driving would all be "good practice" under that logic.

"Stopping" in this instance applies when a traffic control device doesn't otherwise dictate your movements (read the opening paragraph of section 522). In the case of turning left at a green light, a traffic signal is dictating your movements. Therefore, stopping on a crosswalk, in front of a fire hydrant, in front of a public building, in a way that blocks a traffic control device, etc...these things don't apply because of the traffic signal.

There's a difference between things that everyone does that are safe, versus things that everyone does that aren't. Texting and driving, passing a foot from a cyclist...these are things that are common but are certainly not safe actions. But, there are common maneuvers that are not dangerous at all. Pulling forward to turn left, allowing someone out from a side street (assuming they don't hit anyone else and blame you), turning left on red (in some states), etc. These are common maneuvers that have not been shown to be dangerous.

If you have some sort of study that shows turning left from inside the intersection to be dangerous, you would have some decent argument here. But, last I checked, no such study existed.
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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2017, 06:06:27 PM »

Baloo, I've known for the longest time that you refuse to pull into the intersection. But I'm curious why? Did you have a bad experience before?

It's bad practice at best and it's illegal where I typically drive.  I take pride in being a good driver.

It's not bad practice. Being stubborn and refusing to drive like everyone else, based on some fallacy of the practice somehow being illegal...that's bad practice.

You can't see as well when you're in the intersection (due to the oncoming left turn pocket usually), and you're certainly not going to be able to see the signal as easily or be detected for a protected arrow where one is possible.

Here's where pulling forward helps dramatically...this is a video I made of a lagging left (taken at this intersection):


- The off-set left turns reduce visibility at the stop line, so I pull forward to see better
- Sitting forward in the intersection reduces the distance between where I'm "setting off" and the point that I exit the intersection
- The lagging left, in this instance, allows me to pull forward, skip the green arrow, and turn on red, allowing oncoming traffic more time to continue. If I waited at the stop line, the signal would give me a green arrow at the end, forcing them all to stop and give way to me. Which is unnecessary, because I could have turned behind them after the light turned red. If there were more cars behind me, they would have tripped the arrow anyway.

To add: you don't need a green arrow to turn left, ever. They improve capacity, yes. But they're not strictly necessary.

Plus, at least in Tulsa, it is illegal to stop in an intersection under Tulsa city code title 37, chapter 5, section 522(c).  "Everyone else is doing it" is a pretty bad example, or running red lights, passing bicycles too closely and texting while driving would all be "good practice" under that logic.

"Stopping" in this instance applies when a traffic control device doesn't otherwise dictate your movements (read the opening paragraph of section 522). In the case of turning left at a green light, a traffic signal is dictating your movements. Therefore, stopping on a crosswalk, in front of a fire hydrant, in front of a public building, in a way that blocks a traffic control device, etc...these things don't apply because of the traffic signal.

There's a difference between things that everyone does that are safe, versus things that everyone does that aren't. Texting and driving, passing a foot from a cyclist...these are things that are common but are certainly not safe actions. But, there are common maneuvers that are not dangerous at all. Pulling forward to turn left, allowing someone out from a side street (assuming they don't hit anyone else and blame you), turning left on red (in some states), etc. These are common maneuvers that have not been shown to be dangerous.

If you have some sort of study that shows turning left from inside the intersection to be dangerous, you would have some decent argument here. But, last I checked, no such study existed.

Growing up in L.A., there were very few intersections with left turn arrows, even at major intersections.  It was an understood practice that people will rest in the middle of the intersection to make their lefts and that when the light changes to yellow and red, two cars would go before cross traffic approaches.  I generally consider this a safe and appropriate practice, even at intersections with permissive/protective phasing (may turn on a green arrow, or when otherwise safe like green ball of flashing yellow arrow.)

However, there are some instances when this was not safe.  One Christmas eve when I was in college, I was attempting to make a left from an eastbound boulevard to a northbound avenue (both major streets in L.A.).  Instead of resting in the middle as usual, I decided to rest behind the crosswalk.  I felt that traffic was light and that I would make the light even without resting in the middle of the intersectoin.  Luckily I did that, because a drunk driver driving northbound on the avenue ran the red light and smashed right into a car driving westbound on the boulevard.  If I was resting in the middle, I would have been hit.

So yes, there is an extra risk that one takes when resting in the middle, but realistically it's a measured risk.  Resting in the middle is generally necessary to make sure that enough cars can make the left turn on each cycle, especially for busy left turns without green arrows.
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2017, 07:13:56 PM »

So yes, there is an extra risk that one takes when resting in the middle [due to drivers running red lights], but realistically it's a measured risk.  Resting in the middle is generally necessary to make sure that enough cars can make the left turn on each cycle, especially for busy left turns without green arrows.

"Measured risk" is another way of wording what my response to your scenario would be. It seems like such an unusual situation, that it doesn't really detract from, IMO, the significant benefits of pulling forward.

Another issue that Baloo has raised before is emergency vehicles, who might also be approaching from the side street (although with lights flashing). If cars are pulled forward such that there's no gap for the emergency vehicle to slip through, that might cause a delay. But it's a negligible delay, ultimately. Cars from the side street stop, and the cars waiting pull out of the way. Or, they don't move at all, and the emergency vehicle maneuvers around them.
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jakeroot

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #46 on: November 07, 2017, 09:25:27 PM »

Growing up in L.A., there were very few intersections with left turn arrows, even at major intersections.  It was an understood practice that people will rest in the middle of the intersection to make their lefts and that when the light changes to yellow and red, two cars would go before cross traffic approaches.

I do find it rather amusing that Los Angeles, and California in general, has gone from the US city/state with, arguably, the least (or tied for the least) number of protected left turns, to a city/state with almost certainly the most. I remember reading an excerpt from a PDF a while back, where a Sunnyvale Transportation engineer (NorCal but still Cal) stated that he does not use flashing yellow arrows, because most drivers are only used to seeing protected left turns.
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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2017, 02:45:53 PM »

Growing up in L.A., there were very few intersections with left turn arrows, even at major intersections.  It was an understood practice that people will rest in the middle of the intersection to make their lefts and that when the light changes to yellow and red, two cars would go before cross traffic approaches.

I do find it rather amusing that Los Angeles, and California in general, has gone from the US city/state with, arguably, the least (or tied for the least) number of protected left turns, to a city/state with almost certainly the most. I remember reading an excerpt from a PDF a while back, where a Sunnyvale Transportation engineer (NorCal but still Cal) stated that he does not use flashing yellow arrows, because most drivers are only used to seeing protected left turns.

I would make a distinction between big cities, mid-sized cities, small cities, and rural areas.  City of Los Angles historically has had very arrows of any sort, but now there are doghouses at most major intersections.  Suburban areas, particularly the San Gabriel Valley, has a lot of protected only left turns.  For many rural areas it is the same way.  AReas with little traffic, and great sightlines are still subject to waiting forever for a green arrow.

In the suburban areas of Sacramento county, it seemed that every major intersection implored some type of protected green arrow: either protected only lefts or split-phasing for narrower streets that were also quite busy.    Many of those streets had no room for left turn lanes because of the heavy use of bike lanes.

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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2017, 05:11:04 PM »

Growing up in L.A., there were very few intersections with left turn arrows, even at major intersections.  It was an understood practice that people will rest in the middle of the intersection to make their lefts and that when the light changes to yellow and red, two cars would go before cross traffic approaches.

I do find it rather amusing that Los Angeles, and California in general, has gone from the US city/state with, arguably, the least (or tied for the least) number of protected left turns, to a city/state with almost certainly the most. I remember reading an excerpt from a PDF a while back, where a Sunnyvale Transportation engineer (NorCal but still Cal) stated that he does not use flashing yellow arrows, because most drivers are only used to seeing protected left turns.

I would make a distinction between big cities, mid-sized cities, small cities, and rural areas.  City of Los Angles historically has had very arrows of any sort, but now there are doghouses at most major intersections.  Suburban areas, particularly the San Gabriel Valley, has a lot of protected only left turns.  For many rural areas it is the same way.  AReas with little traffic, and great sightlines are still subject to waiting forever for a green arrow.

In the suburban areas of Sacramento county, it seemed that every major intersection implored some type of protected green arrow: either protected only lefts or split-phasing for narrower streets that were also quite busy.    Many of those streets had no room for left turn lanes because of the heavy use of bike lanes.

I suppose LA, as with with many cities whose arterial road networks grew most substantially in the early 20th century and peaked around the 50s, the need for protected left turns never arose because, for the most part, traffic was shifted from the arterial networks to freeways, so traffic levels stayed pretty constant (and are only now starting to get bad again). There's also the vast amount of timed lights in downtown areas, and those generally don't work well with protected, or even protected/permissive lefts (partly the reason why Detroit's arterial network works so well -- no protected lefts!).

I found another snippet from a California traffic engineer, this time from Irvine (a classic suburban city). In the PDF, where various engineers wrote in about their experiences with protected-only versus protected/permissive, he stated that people sometimes get confused at permissive lefts (either drivers not looking for pedestrians, or pedestrians not watching for cars), and that the city "has protected phasing at the vast majority of its signalized intersections; thus, both drivers and peds are subconsciously used to this, which means that the permissive LT is problematic if driver and/or ped is somehow distracted". In my experience, this is where the FYA comes into play. I'd love to see suburban LA cities play with flashing yellows. Protected-only during pedestrian phase, because that's what drivers are used to, but then a permissive phase where drivers don't have to worry about pedestrians (since they apparently aren't good at looking for them to begin with).
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Re: Tulsa's finally getting around to enforcing traffic signals
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2017, 09:17:14 PM »

They need to fix their damn traffic lights so traffic doesn't have to wait 3-4 minutes for a green light when there is nobody coming for a mile in any other direction. The lights at I-44 and Yale are terrible.

 


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