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Author Topic: Right turn signals  (Read 803 times)

UCFKnights

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Right turn signals
« on: August 20, 2018, 11:23:25 AM »

Recently, I've noticed a number of new intersection installs with seemingly random variations of the right turn signals. I figured it'd be good to make a topic to see what people prefer, and the pros and cons of each, I imagine the purpose for the new variations is to try to provide more alert to pedestrian crossings. Here's the types I've been seeing on new installs the past year:
- The traditional 5 segment signal with a green and yellow arrow but no red arrow. The arrow operates with the perpendicular left turn signal
- The same 5 segment signal with the green arrow programmed to be on with the straight movement as well, as long as the crosswalk signal is not allowing pedestrians to cross. I guess the theory is vehicles that are familiar with the intersection may notice that the green arrow is out and be more careful looking out for pedestrians? I don't mind this but without widespread/consistent use the message seems to be lost.
- Separate RYG signal for the right turn lane. The red arrow remains illuminated while thru traffic has a green when the pedestrian signal is on. On frequent pedestrian crossings, the main time the right turn lane gets its green arrow is on the perpendicular left, and NOT with thru traffic.
- The 4 segment FYA signal, with it programmed to flash yellow during the pedestrian phase
- Blankout signs that active only during conflicting pedestrian phases, either saying yield to peds or
- No turn on red blankout signs that activate based on pedestrian presence (which seem to have decreased in popularity, most seem to be on a set schedule instead, activated continuously for hours instead of just during the associated phase)

Is there any other form of right turn signals/pedestrian protection at signalized intersections I'm forgetting? And will MUTCD ever specify which treatment is appropriate/best?
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 11:45:54 AM »

And will MUTCD ever specify which treatment is appropriate/best?

No, because there's never one treatment that will always be the best.  As with any engineering study, they review the intersection, traffic, and pedestrian usage to determine what meets the needs of the intersection.
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NoGoodNamesAvailable

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2018, 08:19:49 PM »

- Blankout signs that active only during conflicting pedestrian phases, either saying yield to peds or
- No turn on red blankout signs that activate based on pedestrian presence

I feel like FYA has made both of these devices obsolete. The latter may still be useful in states that allow turn on red arrow (which I think is incredibly stupid, by the way).
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Revive 755

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 09:34:49 PM »

- Separate RYG signal for the right turn lane. The red arrow remains illuminated while thru traffic has a green when the pedestrian signal is on. On frequent pedestrian crossings, the main time the right turn lane gets its green arrow is on the perpendicular left, and NOT with thru traffic.

There are a few places with this setup where a circular red is used instead of a red arrow.  Then there's a couple in Wisconsin where they display the circular red for the right turn where there is no crosswalk yet the parallel through movement has a green indication.

Isn't there also a version in Texas once discussed on here with a flashing red arrow?

- Blankout signs that active only during conflicting pedestrian phases, either saying yield to peds or
- No turn on red blankout signs that activate based on pedestrian presence

I feel like FYA has made both of these devices obsolete. The latter may still be useful in states that allow turn on red arrow (which I think is incredibly stupid, by the way).

The blank out no turn on red can be useful where there is a shared thru-right lane.  Both may also be useful for places where it would be difficult to have a separate right turn signal while providing two heads for the through movement - say an intersection with only one through lane and a left turn lane with its own signal.
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UCFKnights

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2018, 06:33:43 PM »

And will MUTCD ever specify which treatment is appropriate/best?

No, because there's never one treatment that will always be the best.  As with any engineering study, they review the intersection, traffic, and pedestrian usage to determine what meets the needs of the intersection.
Well, what would be the pros and cons of each that makes one treatment more appropriate then the others? I guess there is two categories, the ones with the blankout signs/without green arrows can be used where a right turn doesn't necessarily have its own lane, but all of the actual signals seem to be able to be used interchangeably with each other, no?

It does seem like a similar situation to the PPLTs, where basically at this point, the FYA is generally the most flexible signal to be used without any real disadvantages (and it sure seems like most areas have made the switch for all new PPLT installations)
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mrsman

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 04:36:48 PM »

And will MUTCD ever specify which treatment is appropriate/best?

No, because there's never one treatment that will always be the best.  As with any engineering study, they review the intersection, traffic, and pedestrian usage to determine what meets the needs of the intersection.
Well, what would be the pros and cons of each that makes one treatment more appropriate then the others? I guess there is two categories, the ones with the blankout signs/without green arrows can be used where a right turn doesn't necessarily have its own lane, but all of the actual signals seem to be able to be used interchangeably with each other, no?

It does seem like a similar situation to the PPLTs, where basically at this point, the FYA is generally the most flexible signal to be used without any real disadvantages (and it sure seems like most areas have made the switch for all new PPLT installations)

And I would say on the same front that the FYA is also the most flexible for the right turn arrow situation.  I would allow for a green arrow to be lit at the same time as the concurrent left turn (provided u-turns are prohibited).  Yellow arrow when the concurrent left signal has a yellow arrow to end the green arrow.  Flashing red for any time that perpendicular traffic can go straight through if right is permitted on red.  Solid red for no turn on red.

If Pedestrians are crossing (parallel to the street you are on), I would incorporate a solid red during the walk phase (or at least as long as necessary to provide a decent leading pedestrian interval) and a flashing yellow arrow during the flashing don't walk phase.  (Similar to a pelican crossing).  A solid yellow arrow will follow the flashing arrow to close out the signal phase. 

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.

The real point with FYA is not just that it signals the permitted phase, but that one  peice of hardware can be used for both the restricted and the permitted states.  It is extremely versatile.
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UCFKnights

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2018, 09:51:23 PM »

And will MUTCD ever specify which treatment is appropriate/best?

No, because there's never one treatment that will always be the best.  As with any engineering study, they review the intersection, traffic, and pedestrian usage to determine what meets the needs of the intersection.
Well, what would be the pros and cons of each that makes one treatment more appropriate then the others? I guess there is two categories, the ones with the blankout signs/without green arrows can be used where a right turn doesn't necessarily have its own lane, but all of the actual signals seem to be able to be used interchangeably with each other, no?

It does seem like a similar situation to the PPLTs, where basically at this point, the FYA is generally the most flexible signal to be used without any real disadvantages (and it sure seems like most areas have made the switch for all new PPLT installations)

And I would say on the same front that the FYA is also the most flexible for the right turn arrow situation.  I would allow for a green arrow to be lit at the same time as the concurrent left turn (provided u-turns are prohibited).  Yellow arrow when the concurrent left signal has a yellow arrow to end the green arrow.  Flashing red for any time that perpendicular traffic can go straight through if right is permitted on red.  Solid red for no turn on red.

If Pedestrians are crossing (parallel to the street you are on), I would incorporate a solid red during the walk phase (or at least as long as necessary to provide a decent leading pedestrian interval) and a flashing yellow arrow during the flashing don't walk phase.  (Similar to a pelican crossing).  A solid yellow arrow will follow the flashing arrow to close out the signal phase. 

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.
If opposing traffic can make a permissive (but not protected) left turn, right turning traffic does not need to yield to them or anyone else and thus would get a green arrow.
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Revive 755

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2018, 10:20:49 PM »

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.
If opposing traffic can make a permissive (but not protected) left turn, right turning traffic does not need to yield to them or anyone else and thus would get a green arrow.

Not according to FHWA (see the sixth question).
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johndoe

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2018, 08:39:15 AM »

Then there's a couple in Wisconsin where they display the circular red for the right turn where there is no crosswalk yet the parallel through movement has a green indication.

Google link?  If I'm visualizing this correctly it seems very strange.
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Revive 755

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2018, 11:21:37 PM »

Then there's a couple in Wisconsin where they display the circular red for the right turn where there is no crosswalk yet the parallel through movement has a green indication.

Google link?  If I'm visualizing this correctly it seems very strange.

Here's one at WI 50 in the Kenosha area.

Here's another on WI 50 in Delavan (look at the head mounted in the median of the side road)
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UCFKnights

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2018, 11:49:53 PM »

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.
If opposing traffic can make a permissive (but not protected) left turn, right turning traffic does not need to yield to them or anyone else and thus would get a green arrow.

Not according to FHWA (see the sixth question).
Interesting. I've definitely seen some programmed wrong, but I can't remember where right now. To me, that also doesn't make that much sense... the turn turn has the right of way and the left needs to yield to the right, so why can't the right have a green arrow? Especially with lefts allowing U turns and rights being given green arrows together with a simple sign saying who needs to yield on green...
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johndoe

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2018, 12:07:33 PM »

Thanks Revive, these look so "wrong" to me!

1.  I'm not an MUTCD expert(https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/part4.pdf), but Section 4D.05 standard 11 says
"The above combination (CIRCULAR GREEN with CIRCULAR RED) shall not be simultaneously displayed on an approach as a result of the combination of displays from multiple signal faces unless the display is created by a signal face(s) devoted exclusively to the control of a right-turning movement and:
A. The signal face(s) controlling the right-turning movement is visibility-limited from the adjacent through movement or positioned to minimize potential confusion to approaching road users, or
B. A RIGHT TURN SIGNAL (R10-10) sign (see Sections 4D.21 through 4D.24) is mounted adjacent to the signal face(s) controlling the right-turning movement.


I guess the engineers would argue that they satisfy A?  If I were a through driver in either of those cases I feel like I would hesitate if I saw a circular red over on the right.

2.  Notice both locations have old stop signs in place but not displayed.  I wonder if that was tried before the turns were signalized?  This would seem to contradict MUTCD 4D.34 standard 7 where it says
"STOP signs shall not be used in conjunction with any traffic control signal operation, except in either of
the following cases:
A. If the signal indication for an approach is a flashing red at all times, or
B. If a minor street or driveway is located within or adjacent to the area controlled by the traffic control signal, but does not require separate traffic signal control because an extremely low potential for conflict exists.
"

3.  It also seems weird that they don't allow the green circular display along with the adjacent through movements.  Those right turns only get a green arrows during the overlapping left turn?  Imagine you are making the opposing left turn and the through phases are on (so you have a circular green), and that opposing right comes to a stop.  Who is supposed to yield to who?  Imagine trying to judge the gap and figuring out if that right turner is really going to yield to you.
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paulthemapguy

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2018, 01:21:12 PM »

^Totally agreed.  Those look SO wrong!  This is downright egregious.

Condition A isn't satisfied because both signal heads can be seen from the same vantage point.  The aperture of the photo is an example!
Condition B isn't satisfied because no sign specifies that the signal head on the right is a right turn signal.
This signal setup is completely illegal.
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Revive 755

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2018, 10:08:46 PM »

Not according to FHWA (see the sixth question).
Interesting. I've definitely seen some programmed wrong, but I can't remember where right now. To me, that also doesn't make that much sense... the turn turn has the right of way and the left needs to yield to the right, so why can't the right have a green arrow? Especially with lefts allowing U turns and rights being given green arrows together with a simple sign saying who needs to yield on green...

There's one on the Missouri side of the St. Louis region on southbound US 61/US 67 at Mattis Road.
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mrsman

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2018, 11:08:00 PM »

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.
If opposing traffic can make a permissive (but not protected) left turn, right turning traffic does not need to yield to them or anyone else and thus would get a green arrow.

Not according to FHWA (see the sixth question).
Interesting. I've definitely seen some programmed wrong, but I can't remember where right now. To me, that also doesn't make that much sense... the turn turn has the right of way and the left needs to yield to the right, so why can't the right have a green arrow? Especially with lefts allowing U turns and rights being given green arrows together with a simple sign saying who needs to yield on green...

I've seen enough close calls with the right turn and U-turn conflict that IMO it should not be allowed.  In CA (and other states) this is specifically prohibited and a right turn green arrow would never shine unless the corresponding left turn has a no u-turn.   In MD, they are allowed despite the conflict and occasionally there is a warning for right turners or u-turners to yield to the other.


Somebody on another thread had mentioned the possibility of defining a flashing green right arrow notation to indicate that you have the right of way, but other traffic may still conflict with you.  This is a distinction from a solid green that should indicate a completely protected turn and a flashing yellow arrow notation that indicates that you may have to yield to other traffic (or pedestrians), but no stop is required.  It is an interesting idea.

And to me doing something like this may finally resolve one of my problems with the FYA notation.  For the longest time, flashing yellow ball means caution, but in many intersections at night a flashing yellow ball indicates that you are approaching a dark intersection, you have the right of way and others have to yield (or stop) for you.  But a flashing yellow arrow indicates that you have to yield to opposing traffic.  So the two flashing yellow indications conflict in meaning - the arrow is a yield and the ball is merely a caution.  But if a flashing green were defined to replace flashing yellow ball, then the flashing green would indicate right of way with potential conflict and the flashing yellow would indicate yield.

Now I'm only thinking out loud here.  I'm not advocating for a flashing green as there could be other considerations before putting in place new definitions.
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UCFKnights

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2018, 07:12:56 PM »

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.
If opposing traffic can make a permissive (but not protected) left turn, right turning traffic does not need to yield to them or anyone else and thus would get a green arrow.

Not according to FHWA (see the sixth question).
Interesting. I've definitely seen some programmed wrong, but I can't remember where right now. To me, that also doesn't make that much sense... the turn turn has the right of way and the left needs to yield to the right, so why can't the right have a green arrow? Especially with lefts allowing U turns and rights being given green arrows together with a simple sign saying who needs to yield on green...

I've seen enough close calls with the right turn and U-turn conflict that IMO it should not be allowed.  In CA (and other states) this is specifically prohibited and a right turn green arrow would never shine unless the corresponding left turn has a no u-turn.   In MD, they are allowed despite the conflict and occasionally there is a warning for right turners or u-turners to yield to the other.
Florida typically allows it (unless its a high volume turn movement intersection), but nearly always has a sign to either say U turn yield (most common) or right turn yield (pretty rare). It seems like a sign for those 2 sharing a green should be mandatory.


Quote
Somebody on another thread had mentioned the possibility of defining a flashing green right arrow notation to indicate that you have the right of way, but other traffic may still conflict with you.  This is a distinction from a solid green that should indicate a completely protected turn and a flashing yellow arrow notation that indicates that you may have to yield to other traffic (or pedestrians), but no stop is required.  It is an interesting idea.
So wouldn't this mean the green balls generally need to be always flashing as well? Traffic turning left on green ball or FYA crosses in front of the green ball, and traffic turning right on red can end up in front of the green ball.

Quote
And to me doing something like this may finally resolve one of my problems with the FYA notation.  For the longest time, flashing yellow ball means caution, but in many intersections at night a flashing yellow ball indicates that you are approaching a dark intersection, you have the right of way and others have to yield (or stop) for you.  But a flashing yellow arrow indicates that you have to yield to opposing traffic.  So the two flashing yellow indications conflict in meaning - the arrow is a yield and the ball is merely a caution.  But if a flashing green were defined to replace flashing yellow ball, then the flashing green would indicate right of way with potential conflict and the flashing yellow would indicate yield
Flashing yellow, whether a ball or arrow, does not mean yield, it means use caution. When you are turning right, whether you have a green ball or a flashing yellow arrow or a flashing yellow ball or no traffic signal at all, you are expected to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. When you are turning left, whether you have a green ball or a flashing yellow arrow or a flashing yellow ball or no traffic signal at all, you are expected to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians in the crosswalk. Some areas place reminder signs for turning traffic to yield for FYAs, some place it for green balls. As it is, we have no traffic signal indication that means yield at all. A flashing yellow signal will always work and make perfect logical sense if you think of it as uncontrolled intersection for the movement that the flashing yellow signal is representing. The only gap in the logic of signals is the green ball, because all green arrows ensure your movement is conflict free in the direction the arrow points (U turn being the exception, but I firmly believe it should either have a sign assigning who needs to yield on green or no U turn)
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mrsman

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2018, 10:34:28 PM »

If no pedestrian is detected, a green arrow is totally appropriate while parallel traffic has a green ball, unless opposing traffic is allowed to make a left turn.  If opposing traffic can make a left turn, there should be a flashing yellow arrow.
If opposing traffic can make a permissive (but not protected) left turn, right turning traffic does not need to yield to them or anyone else and thus would get a green arrow.

Not according to FHWA (see the sixth question).
Interesting. I've definitely seen some programmed wrong, but I can't remember where right now. To me, that also doesn't make that much sense... the turn turn has the right of way and the left needs to yield to the right, so why can't the right have a green arrow? Especially with lefts allowing U turns and rights being given green arrows together with a simple sign saying who needs to yield on green...

I've seen enough close calls with the right turn and U-turn conflict that IMO it should not be allowed.  In CA (and other states) this is specifically prohibited and a right turn green arrow would never shine unless the corresponding left turn has a no u-turn.   In MD, they are allowed despite the conflict and occasionally there is a warning for right turners or u-turners to yield to the other.
Florida typically allows it (unless its a high volume turn movement intersection), but nearly always has a sign to either say U turn yield (most common) or right turn yield (pretty rare). It seems like a sign for those 2 sharing a green should be mandatory.


Quote
Somebody on another thread had mentioned the possibility of defining a flashing green right arrow notation to indicate that you have the right of way, but other traffic may still conflict with you.  This is a distinction from a solid green that should indicate a completely protected turn and a flashing yellow arrow notation that indicates that you may have to yield to other traffic (or pedestrians), but no stop is required.  It is an interesting idea.
So wouldn't this mean the green balls generally need to be always flashing as well? Traffic turning left on green ball or FYA crosses in front of the green ball, and traffic turning right on red can end up in front of the green ball.

Quote
And to me doing something like this may finally resolve one of my problems with the FYA notation.  For the longest time, flashing yellow ball means caution, but in many intersections at night a flashing yellow ball indicates that you are approaching a dark intersection, you have the right of way and others have to yield (or stop) for you.  But a flashing yellow arrow indicates that you have to yield to opposing traffic.  So the two flashing yellow indications conflict in meaning - the arrow is a yield and the ball is merely a caution.  But if a flashing green were defined to replace flashing yellow ball, then the flashing green would indicate right of way with potential conflict and the flashing yellow would indicate yield
Flashing yellow, whether a ball or arrow, does not mean yield, it means use caution. When you are turning right, whether you have a green ball or a flashing yellow arrow or a flashing yellow ball or no traffic signal at all, you are expected to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. When you are turning left, whether you have a green ball or a flashing yellow arrow or a flashing yellow ball or no traffic signal at all, you are expected to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians in the crosswalk. Some areas place reminder signs for turning traffic to yield for FYAs, some place it for green balls. As it is, we have no traffic signal indication that means yield at all. A flashing yellow signal will always work and make perfect logical sense if you think of it as uncontrolled intersection for the movement that the flashing yellow signal is representing. The only gap in the logic of signals is the green ball, because all green arrows ensure your movement is conflict free in the direction the arrow points (U turn being the exception, but I firmly believe it should either have a sign assigning who needs to yield on green or no U turn)

Which again leads to the fact that balls and arrows may have different meanings.  Red ball means to stop, but right turns and lefts from one-way to one-way are generally permitted.  Red arrow also means stop and would generally prohibit right turns and left turns.  Green ball assigns right of way to the straight movement, but would allow turns that may conflict with the straight movement.  Green arrows usually denote a protected turn.  Flashing yellow ball denotes caution, but maintains right of way.  Flashing yellow arrow denotes caution with the need to yield the right of way.  It does make sense so long as you don't think about it too hard.   :hmmm:

Many signals in Washington DC (in defiance of the national MUTCD) have a flashing walking WALK (white man) designation.  A steady WALK denotes a protected walking phase, because no turns of any sort are permitted across the crosswalk, usually due to one-way streets.  A flashing WALK warns of potential turning conflict.

[Yes there are some northwestern states with more liberal definitions, but the above applies to most of the country.]
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Revive 755

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2018, 09:55:20 PM »

[any signals in Washington DC (in defiance of the national MUTCD) have a flashing walking WALK (white man) designation.  A steady WALK denotes a protected walking phase, because no turns of any sort are permitted across the crosswalk, usually due to one-way streets.  A flashing WALK warns of potential turning conflict.

It's not a case of the signal equipment being old enough to have been around back when flashing walk was allowed for pedestrian crossings with turning conflicts, and the signal equipment has just not been upgraded?
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jakeroot

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2018, 11:05:23 PM »

[any signals in Washington DC (in defiance of the national MUTCD) have a flashing walking WALK (white man) designation.  A steady WALK denotes a protected walking phase, because no turns of any sort are permitted across the crosswalk, usually due to one-way streets.  A flashing WALK warns of potential turning conflict.

What I'm seeing in DC is the countdown timer being displayed while the walk signal is displayed. Basically every intersection has a timer display for traffic, immediately after the light turns green.



My favorite setup for turns is FYAs. Here's a T-intersection in Federal Way, WA with FYAs for both turns. The FYA is displayed during the walk phase only. I think this works very well.

Right (and left to one way) on red arrows is legal in WA, but most drivers wait if there's a pedestrian anyway. I don't see any issue with turning on a red arrow. Prohibit turns with a sign if absolutely necessary.

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RobbieL2415

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2018, 08:23:47 PM »

CONNDOT and municipalities don't use red arrows unless the right turn lane is separated by a safety island. There is one exception: US 5 in South Windsor uses red arrows for right turns I'm assuming because of the railroad running parallel to the northbound side.

For NYC, since it's NTOR city-wide you rarely see them, at least I have.  Unless the intersection gets right only lanes a lot of the time you get a hanging light and a pole-mounted light, all ball elements, and that's it. Newer installations at some intersections are getting FYAs, particularly in Manhattan
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bzakharin

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Re: Right turn signals
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2018, 11:55:29 AM »

This was a left turn signal with balls instead of arrows:
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9466369,-75.0281273,3a,37.5y,350.12h,92.7t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sOExoNBmsbQ49YjLNQve5YQ!2e0!5s20130901T000000!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1
As a bonus the "left turn signal" legend was completely unreadable. It was replaced only 2 or 3 years ago.
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