November 26, 2009
Contribute to yellow light measurement survey

This is a call for volunteers to help measure and monitor the yellow light durations in Seattle.

I have set up a data entry form here:

The location of traffic cameras in your area of Seattle can be found here.

The results you submit will be posted here.

I measured the yellow light durations at the two intersections in West Seattle that have ticket cameras. Here are the results:

Intersection Yellow Light Speed Limit
35th and Avalon 3.5 sec 35 MPH
35th and Thistle 3.5 sec 35 MPH

The above times are consistent with what has been stated by Wayne Wentz, Seattle's traffic management director. Seattle PI quoted him as saying that yellow signal times were shortened as part of a re-timing of downtown signals in March 2008, to make sure intersections are cleared of vehicles when lights change.

"Many of our downtown signals were operating with four seconds of yellow time, then going directly to green for the other direction," Wentz said. "During our recent optimization, we changed the signals to 3.5 seconds of yellow time and added one second of red in all directions for a total of 4.5 seconds. This actually increased the vehicle clearance time by 0.5 seconds."

The "all red" time at the two intersections I observed was about one second. So that is also consistent with Mr. Wentz's statement.

The 3.5 seconds of yellow is too short in my view for 35 MPH streets, and it is shorter than the 4 seconds recommended by others. If borrowing a second or so from the green light would screw up the city's carefully optimized system, I would support moving .5 seconds from the all red period to the yellow light, at least on an experimental basis to gather data. That would give drivers more time to make the stop-or-go decision, and still leave a half second of all red to allow the intersection to clear.

Posted by Carter Mackley at November 26, 2009 04:11 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Who the hell cares. Why is this being posted on a politics forum?

Posted by: Mikw on November 26, 2009 04:51 PM
2. Wayne Wentz, Seattle's traffic management director is Lying through his teeth when, he gives the Phony excuse that they shortened the yellow signal times in order to make sure intersections are cleared of vehicles when the lights change. On that reasoning, why have the yellow light at all? No, it's all about revenue hunting at the Citizens expense and inconvenience. Anybody with any commonsense would realize that too short of a yellow light would make the drivers unnecessary scared to even enter an intersection unless the light had just turned green. That the traffic flow would not be smooth because of the fear that the driver would be caught by a red light. Everybody would slow down for every intersection because, they would be required to come to an immediate stop when the yellow light came on. It would be slow and go, stop and go throughout the City. Yes, shortening the yellow light timing is just, going to make traffic flow worse and not better.

This Fiasco, is going to cost Seattle more revenue than what they will gain by their red light robbery scheme. They will lose business revenue. People are going to be less likely to flock to Seattle to do business of any kind. Whenever they can avoid it, they will go elsewhere. This in turn will not only cause business to do less business and therefore, less Tax revenue for the City It will also, cause businesses to leave Seattle as they have been over the years because, of the City's mismanagement of the business climate and this will be just, another nail in the coffin.

Posted by: Daniel on November 26, 2009 05:52 PM
3. It should be 4 seconds yellow and 1 second red before green. And in the case of faster moving arteries, 5 seconds of yellow. It's simply the physics of moving vehicles at given 35 mph and 45 mph arterial speeds. Anything less than 4 seconds is too short for yellow lights.

And all cameras should be purchased outright with city funds, and not leased and funded by ticket revenue.

If safety is the true goal, then making yellows longer is just a better margin of safety.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 26, 2009 09:01 PM
4. @3, Jeff B...Is your first sentence a misstatement? It makes no sense at all. Please, explain your reasoning behind your statement.

Actually, all yellow lights should be of the same timing throughout the State and the Nation...PERIOD! There shouldn't be a requirement to do an unnecessary mental calculation on the timing of a yellow light depending on what City or County and the speed of the of the arterial leading up and through the intersection. It would be far, far easier for the driver and therefore safer as well if the driver becomes condition and needs only to be concern with one universal timing of yellow lights wherever he may be, City or County. The timing should be a healthy 5 seconds on all arterials, giving adequate time to make a go or no go decision no matter whether it's 35 or 45 miles per hour. To have different yellow light timings only creates confusion, hesitation, unsureness in the decision of the driver as to whether to go or no go. Safety and traffic flow would be improved if there was consistency and adequate time allowed in the duration of the yellow light being on.

Posted by: Daniel on November 26, 2009 09:49 PM
5. Reread original post Daniel. 4 seconds of yellow. Then 1 second of red in both directions before green in the opposite direction of the light that went yellow. I should not have to explain that but was feeling generous.

And the speed limit of the road does matter. There is a big difference between yellows on say Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale, CA where speeds get to 50+ mph, and a light on a 35 mph two lane road in N Tacoma. That's why yellow length can vary. But it should never be less than 4 seconds given 35 mph and there should always be a pause of red in both directions before green. Safety is the issue.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 26, 2009 11:19 PM
6. According to the MUTCD, the minimum yellow clearance is to be 4 seconds, no matter how slow the vehicles are travelling. At speeds 45 mph and above, it should be 5 seconds. The red clearance interval is supposed to be two seconds. So, Seattle has shortened the times a little.

Posted by: Duvall John on November 27, 2009 01:01 AM
7. There are cases where I would not object to a reducing yellow light times to 3.5 seconds.

Traffic signals can be setup in two ways. One is on demand where each signal is autonomous. A car entering from a side street triggers the signal and traffic on the arterial stops.

The other method is where signals are synchronized. That is where the arterial lights are setup to with a pre determined green light time and side streets get a green at a specific interval.

As much as I dislike the former Mayor he did do one thing right. He made city engineers begin synchronizing traffic lights. If part of that process requires making yellow lights be 3.5 seconds then I'm all for it.

What they should do is return to the practice of telling the public what speed those lights are set for. For years many cities used to do just that.

It is typical for lights in a 35mph zone to be synced at 30 to 32mph. It would be worth a phone call to find out what speed the lights are setup for.

I personally feel that the use of on demand lights should be severely restricted. And the use of red light cameras on those lights should also be banned.

A good example is Fife. The extreme traffic enforcement capital of Pierce county. Not only are the lights ALL on demand, they are badly timed and they just added a new one. It is not unusual to stop at every light and have to sit through 2 or 3 cycles before clearing an intersection. Just plain bad city planning.

Posted by: Vince on November 27, 2009 04:45 AM
8. I've got a question into Seattle.gov regarding the duration of the yellow to red duration and whether that time was uniform within the city at intersections with a similar speed limits. I got a robo reply back saying that they would research my question and get back to me in about 2 weeks. 1 week to the day later, I'm still waiting to hear back on the question.

Posted by: Rick D. on November 27, 2009 05:58 AM
9. @5, Jeff B...Thank you for your in-depth explanation on your first sentence at post #3. However, the 1 second of red in both directions, I believe to be an excess that may add confusion and overreaction more than it serves Safety.

Posted by: Daniel on November 27, 2009 07:52 AM
10. @6

"Should" or "Shall"?

Don't have my copy here for reference.

Posted by: FT on November 27, 2009 08:28 AM
11. Some places in Europe have a yellow prior to the green to let drivers know that it is time to get ready to drive.

Posted by: Calvin A on November 27, 2009 09:03 AM
12. @9

One second red in both directions, or maybe .75 seconds of red in both directions is standard practice to prevent a green light jumper in one direction from hitting a red light runner in the other direction. The slight delay prevents the dragster start like mentality of the green light jumper from kicking in too soon.

Look at some lights. You will see that on lights that are properly setup, there is a slight pause before green in the opposite direction after red in the current direction. This pause is a great addition to safety.

There will be those who claim that the extra time slows down the lights and is an inconvenience, but cities can't have it both ways. Either they are actually concerned with safety, or they are setting up lights and cameras for convenience and revenue.

The main solution is to stop the nationwide practice of allowing the Red Light Cam manufacturers from having any say at all in the actual installation or timing of lights, and to stop the leasing programs that allow cities and red light cam MFGs to collude. If a city can't afford a red light cam after those programs are removed, then too bad. Cities need to learn budgeting and prioritization as so many bankrupt localities are now proving.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 27, 2009 10:23 AM
13. Wow... an entire post that... err... proves that SDOT is being truthful and forthcoming. Wow. Why don't you bitch and moan when you actually have something to bitch and moan ABOUT?

@12: The main solution is to stop the nationwide practice of allowing the Red Light Cam manufacturers from having any say at all in the actual installation or timing of lights, and to stop the leasing programs that allow cities and red light cam MFGs to collude.

And where is the proof that this is going on in Seattle?

Posted by: demo kid on November 27, 2009 12:05 PM
14. Why don't you bitch and moan when you actually have something to bitch and moan ABOUT? - DK

I've got a better idea. Why don't you stfu for once and find another blog? Because I'm sick and tired of having to wade through your crap. Every day. On every post.

Seriously. Leave. You bring nothing to the conversation. You never have. You never will.

Go. You will not be missed.

Posted by: jimg on November 27, 2009 02:20 PM
15. Cities, including Paradise Valley, Dallas, Lubbock, Baytown, Beaverton, Union City, Springfield, and Chattanooga, have all been caught shortening yellow lights to increase profits from red light cameras. Bethesda left a yellow light at a photo radar intersection at 2.7 seconds for a year after the public complained, even though every other yellow light on the street was 4 seconds.

The reason why short yellow lights create a trap for people driving is that short yellow lights create an "impossible to stop" zone in which a certain percentage of people approaching an intersection become caught in the dilemma of not being able to stop safely before the light turns red, and not being able to cross into the intersection without technically running a red light.

Reasons to oppose photo radar:

http://www.meetup.com/camerafraud/messages/boards/thread/7496696


Posted by: Banphotoradar on November 27, 2009 03:00 PM
16. @14: Brilliant. Just goes to prove my point.

@15: Proof that Seattle is doing this?

Posted by: demo kid on November 27, 2009 03:07 PM
17. Demo Kid:

All red light camera revenue is shared with the vendor.

Lakewood actually backed off expanding their red light cameras because of it. The figured out that after they paid a percentage to the vendor and to the State they were loosing money.

The vendor processes the photos before sending them to law enforcement. They of course get a fee for that. It is a very big business and the money is spent out of State. If I remember correctly they are in Arizona.

The kicker is they get paid for every citation issued. Not if the offender is found guilty.

Posted by: Vince on November 27, 2009 03:21 PM
18. The yellow means don't enter the intersection. Slow down the Mercedes and let the peasants go when they get the green.

Posted by: JoeBandMember on November 27, 2009 03:27 PM
19. @17: That's not relevant. The question is simple: is there proof that Seattle is shortening yellow lights to increase revenue? By the admission of the author of this post, SDOT isn't doing that.

Posted by: demo kid on November 27, 2009 03:28 PM
20. Statistics or Superstition?

Here's a yellow light timing chart, but the MUTCD allows you to use posted or 85th percentile speed.
YELLOW LIGHT TIMING CHART IN SECONDS
Approach Speed. The road width is the cross street width.
(mph) Road Width
30' 50' 70' 90' 110'
20 3.8 4.4 5.6 5.7 6.4
30 3.6 4.1 4.5 5.0 5.5
40 3.9 4.2 4.5 4.9 5.2
50 4.1 4.4 4.7 5.0 5.2
60 4.5 4.7 4.9 5.1 5.4
Source: 1976 Transportation & Traffic Engineering Handbook

No one doubts that red light cameras may reduce red light violations by some measure. What is being investigated in many places is the probability that the presence of red light cameras raise the collision rate at intersections.

For another recent major example;
Refer to CBS in Los Angeles, please click on the appropriate video link in the upper right hand side of the story to see the TV report as well. http://cbs2.com/goldstein/Red.Light.Cameras.2.1301941.html

For a safety program, these are disastrous results to have raised the accident rate by 62.5% of the intersections equipped with cameras and achieved no positive results in another 9.375% of those intersections for a failure rate of almost 72% to achieve any positive safety gains with that camera program.

Also please review the Chicago Tribune article http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-red-light-cameras-22-nov22,0,2590486.story with links to the in-depth statistics and side bar regarding an ex-alderman, I feel sure it will add to your knowledge base. Here's proof Chicago violate MUTCD regulations and puts all traffic at greater risk by shortening yellow signals http://www.youtube.com/user/MrBFagel

At least 9 cities have had public votes on red light cameras which led to the cameras being banned.
1) Chillicothe, Ohio November2009,
2)Heath, Ohio November2009,
3)College Station, Texas November 2009,
4) Sulphur, Louisiana April 2009,
5)Cincinnati, Ohio November 2008,
6)Steubenville, Ohio November 2006,
7)Anchorage, Alaska April 1996,
8)Batavia, Illinois March 1992,
9)Peoria, Arizona March 1991.
To my knowledge, red light cameras have never withstood a public vote or referendum on their use.

A total of 15 states have either a legal ban on the use of red light cameras or restrictions that they cannot be used in any practical sense: AK, AR, GA, IN, ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NB, NV, NH, UT, WV, and WI. Some of these bans came about because of the high probability the cameras would raise the intersection accident rates. Others were enacted to prevent the predatory use of the cameras for revenue purposes, sometimes enhanced with improper intersection engineering such as using too short of yellow intervals. GA law added 1 second of yellow time and realized 80% drop in violations and 70% drop in collisions.

Traffic regulations should be designed, written and enforced to prevent traffic accidents and fatalities. An absolutely essential component to achieve that goal of preventing accidents and fatalities is the optimum engineering of all traffic regulations for safety purposes alone, using the engineering criteria that maximize safety first. In almost all cases, if the intersection engineering is done correctly, including proper yellow light intervals and the other common sense criteria, the camera vendors will have no chance to make a sale because the cameras won't record enough violations to even pay their basic costs of operation.

Traffic regulations and their enforcement always need to respect the Hippocratic Oath Principle: First, "Do No Harm".

I believe that your city, and every city that has or is considering red light cameras, needs to first review all the engineering parameters of their intersections to optimize safety with correct engineering. In almost every case, the need for the cameras will fad away.

Barnet Fagel - Illinois Traffic Safety Advocate/Researcher
National Motorists Association
Driving Freedoms Newsletter
Protecting Motorists Since 1982
Motorists.org

Posted by: Barnet on November 27, 2009 04:43 PM
21. Well said Barnet.

The goal of the city should be safety. Any discussions or calculations of anticipated increases in revenue should be viewed with skepticism as to the primary goal of the city in installing red light cameras.

If revenues through tickets are increasing, then obviously the safety of the intersections are failing. If the city must have a certain amount of revenue to pay for the cameras, then they will morph into finding more reasons to raise the revenue than in increasing true safety.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 27, 2009 05:30 PM
22. Prove that Seattle is changing the timing of lights to raise revenue. Until someone can do that, this is pointless whining.

Posted by: demo kid on November 27, 2009 05:55 PM
23. "...this is pointless whining."

Must be. You are the expert.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 27, 2009 06:39 PM
24.
Here is a link to a 2007 study that shows that red light cams were piloted in Seattle. They were purchased through ATS of Scottsdale Arizona. It's well known that ATS works in concert with the cities to time the lights and collects a per ticket revenue per light. ATS is a shady company that has made a business of colluding with companies to set light timing. Other cities have seen similar programs. Here is Clarkville, Tennessee's experience with ATS. As the report notes, follow the money. Note the massive increase in revenue for the city.

What have you got against safety? If the cameras are a good idea for safety, why isn't having longer yellows a good idea for safety as well? And why would you want government traffic engineers working with a private company to "tweak" the system and standing to benefit from a greater number of infractions? A clear conflict of interest.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 27, 2009 08:20 PM
25. @24: Prove that the timing was changed because of a desire for revenue, or shut the hell up. I'm sick to death of insane conservatives of whining just for the sake of perpetuating their own victimization complexes.

I mean, seriously. Even Mr. Mackley admits that SDOT has been honest and up front about their reasoning. Pulling up wild accusations without proof is just sad and pathetic.

Posted by: demo kid on November 27, 2009 09:55 PM
26. @14, jimg tells demo kid to stfu.

@16, demo kid says this proves his point.

Then @25, demo kid tells me to shut the hell up.

You can't make this stuff up. I guess in his mind there's a serious semantic difference between stfu and sthu.

I think given his sometimes moderate, and other times raging comments, it's more likely he's bipolar.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 27, 2009 10:43 PM
27. It has already cost Seattle and other cities my sales tax revenue. I specifically boycott any jurisdiction that use them. While I understand they are like crack to elected officials and do catch red light runners...however the cost and slide to a Big Brother society is too great IMO. I've never gotten a ticket, but if I did I'd be sure to ignore it unless I was personally served.

Posted by: Matty on November 28, 2009 01:13 AM
28. You simply don't remember who was driving at the time. It was good enough for Hillary when she was caught with FBI files she had no business with and it is good enough for you. And yes it costs businesses - I have a friend that bought a new Airstream for north of a hundred grand in Eugene OR after getting a ticket in Fife for stopping three feet past the stop bar before proceeding. This guy no longer shops at Sportco he mail orders all his sporting goods and will buy his new truck every two years somewhere other than in Fife. I have never seen him so mad in all the time I have known him.

Posted by: JDH on November 28, 2009 05:21 AM
29. What we need is someone to hack into the emails of Nickels over this issue.If you think for one minute I am going to believe any statistics presented by a govt.agency that benefits monetarily from skewed stats guess again.Our govt.no longer has any credibility and I dont care who is elected they are all just trying to line their own pockets and live like royalty and constantly trying to think of ways to extract money from the people to support their lavish lifestyle.

Posted by: DW on November 28, 2009 10:22 AM
30. What we need is someone to hack into the emails of Nickels over this issue.If you think for one minute I am going to believe any statistics presented by a govt.agency that benefits monetarily from skewed stats guess again.Our govt.no longer has any credibility and I dont care who is elected they are all just trying to line their own pockets and live like royalty and constantly trying to think of ways to extract money from the people to support their lavish lifestyle.

Posted by: DW on November 28, 2009 10:23 AM
31. off topic, but we widely acept the fact that peopel drive over the speed limit. on aurora they are usually going about 50 north of the tunnel when the speed limit is 40.

shouldn't we just enforce whatever the law is? and if the speed limit should be raised, raise it?

it would promote respect for law to have laws that actually mean what they say; also it would reduce the arbitary power of the police to basically watch 100 drivers go by doing 52 then bust the woman driving 54 mph.

Like good fences make good neighbors, very specific laws make good law enforcement.

Posted by: infrequent on November 28, 2009 11:00 AM
32. JDH @ 28,

In 2004 I written up by the Lynnwood PD for purportedly "running" a red light. It was one of the three moving violations I have committed in 42 years of driving.

The ticket was the product of a fraudulent sting operation. I submitted a written account with a detailed map to Lynnwood traffic court. I'm sure they got a good chuckle.

I notified the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce that I would not visit their city again as a result of the unscrupulous traffic practices. I'm sure they, also, got a good chuckle out of that. But Lynnwood hasn't gotten another dime from me since.

Anyone still reading might be interested to know that my infraction occurred after making a left turn during a yellow light from Southbound 99 onto Eastbound SW 19th.

After I passed throught that behemoth of intersections I noticed a motorcycle cop writing someone a ticket in the parking lot of Johann's Fabrics.

A minute later, the same cop was lighting me up.

He asked the typical question: to my typical response, "no" to which I answered that I most certainly did not run a red light and that there was a vehicle behind me.

He said; Oh, yeah? and then he got on his phone and chatted with the officer stationed at the intersection. Then my cop said his cop said that I DID indeed run the red light.

It was only after I OBEDIENTLY paid my fine that I learned I had an easy defense.

I was the victim of HERESAY evidence. The ticket would have been thrown out in a fair court.

And it was this style of tip that I was hoping to garner from former prosecuting attorney Carter Mackley in the first round of this thread.

Carter instead accused me of "advocating civil disobedience".

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 28, 2009 12:37 PM
33. Carter,

Your definition of "civil disobedience" includes the fighting of traffic tickets in traffic court.

What is your definition of "extortion"?

A traffic citation is given force of law by City Ordinance, is applied by City law agents, and penalized by addtional City fine rates, the validity of which is finally determined by the City Justice System. Or should I say "Kangaroo Court"?

Why is the above NOT extortion, and why is YOUR fight against yellow light fraud NOT an example of "civil disobedience"?

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 28, 2009 12:45 PM
34. @33: A traffic citation is given force of law by City Ordinance, is applied by City law agents, and penalized by addtional City fine rates, the validity of which is finally determined by the City Justice System. Or should I say "Kangaroo Court"?

Screw it then... why obey ANY laws? Especially those that you don't like?

I have no problems with fighting tickets in court, especially if you think that they've been written for things that you didn't do. But this is rapidly approaching a level of self-parody here. Should we simply throw out traffic laws because you don't like them? Because you got a ticket, maybe?

Yet again, more proof that conservatives just love to whine.

And I haven't yet seen any proof that Seattle DOT is gaming the yellow lights to increase tax revenue. Anyone care to provide evidence?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Posted by: demo kid on November 28, 2009 01:35 PM
35. Bart,

I apologize for saying that you advocated civil disobedience. Here is what you said in your earlier post.

"How about you help collapse the unfair revenue generation and provide an easy guide to defeating
the ATM in traffic court?"

I read too much into it when you talked about "collapsing the unfair revenue generation". I don't consider accusing someone of advocating civil disobedience pejorative. Apparently you do, and I should have read your post more carefully. So again, I apologize for that.

Posted by: Carter Mackley on November 28, 2009 01:59 PM
36. Revenue or not, red light cameras have been shown time and again to INCREASE the number of accidents, and the number of injuries. On a pure safety-point alone, red light cameras should be eliminated.

Oh, and SPFA? Councilman Nick Licata wants to use red light cameras to boost revenue. Nothing about safety at all - it's all about revenue. Per the Councilman himself, who's pushing their expanded use.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 28, 2009 02:03 PM
37. @36: You're ignoring the main point of this. Prove that the signals have been changed to raise more revenue.

You're also arguing people should be allowed to break the law if they like, without the threat of enforcement, eh? As I said before, what's the point of enforcing the law in that case? Are you saying that people should break the law when they like? While it's true that the revenue is a sidelight, these are laws that are already on the books, and can (and should) be applied when necessary.

Besides, the ethics of increasing government revenue through fines that the government should be collecting already is far superior to the state changing the rules for Kino. Personally, I'd rather the government get the money that they should be collecting ANYWAY, rather than boosting the revenue stream by exploiting compulsive gamblers and the poor.

Posted by: demo kid on November 28, 2009 03:34 PM
38. Carter,

I accept and admire your apology and acknowledge my own prickly nature.

I consiser "civil disobedience" to be the unlawful protest of government.

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 28, 2009 03:37 PM
39. Add College Station, TX to the list of cities that have voted to remove red light cameras. It was driven by petition signatures, and then won at election. After the election the red light company sued (through a proxy) and a judge began to step in to invalidate the election on a technicality. The city council, fearful of future elections, quickly moved to turn off the lights for the stated reason of "...honoring the election results..." which is where we stand today. Lights went off just a few days ago.

Personaly I've seen two near-miss rear end hits due to drivers slamming on the brakes to avoid a chance at a ticket. Not very good for "traffic safety" and the voters know it.

Posted by: Larry Oeth on November 28, 2009 03:37 PM
40. Add College Station, TX to the list of cities that have voted to remove red light cameras. It was driven by petition signatures, and then won at election. After the election the red light company sued (through a proxy) and a judge began to step in to invalidate the election on a technicality. The city council, fearful of future elections, quickly moved to turn off the lights for the stated reason of "...honoring the election results..." which is where we stand today. Lights went off just a few days ago.

Personaly I've seen two near-miss rear end hits due to drivers slamming on the brakes to avoid a chance at a ticket. Not very good for "traffic safety" and the voters know it.

Posted by: Larry Oeth on November 28, 2009 03:38 PM
41. Demok,

We, and certainly you, too, all break many laws everday.

We generally obey the laws we know to avoid punishment, and to be good citizens.

But they don't all make sense all the time. And we all make judgement calls.

Doing 21 mph in a school zone is against the law.

Tell us what laws you broke today.

I'll start.

I haven't left the house today, but my dog has left poop in my backyard for more than 24 hours.

I once put a CFL bulb in the trash.

Both against City ordinances.

Soon, here in Seattle, it will be illegal to have english ivy in one's yard. Ridiculous in my opinion, and I will consider the citation extortion for a useless law. And I will then conduct civil disobedience to keep my lovely ivy.

Afterall, it conceals my chain-link fence which is probably against some neighborhood covenant itself.

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 28, 2009 03:54 PM
42. @41: First of all, neighborhood covenants aren't laws or regulations... they're related specifically to the title to your property. Blaming the guvmint for not being allowed to put up certain drapes in your window is misdirected ire.

With respect to the city ordinances that you broke today... who cares? We're talking about the enforcement of one particular traffic safety regulation that SHOULD be enforced where possible. While you can argue that leaving your dog's poop in your backyard is disgusting, it's probably not as likely to result in a death as running a red light.

Again, this is rapidly becoming a parody! You're proposing that ordinances passed by the city should just be ignored. Do you believe that all laws that you don't like should just be ignored if they inconvenience you?

Posted by: demo kid on November 28, 2009 04:10 PM
43. No, SPFA, you created a strawman point, and you're arguing it. Carter's post was to see what is the timing of the yellow lights, and we have determined that they seem to be 3.5 seconds. The City of Seattle agreed, even said as much. And those times are below the Federal guidelines.

If you want to argue some unrelated point, so be it, but you are still missing the central point: the City of Seattle is using red light cameras not for safety purposes, but for revenue generation.

Do you dispute that the City of Seattle is using red light cameras for revenue generation?

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 28, 2009 04:34 PM
44. demok,

You are the parody queen.

I have never advocated running red lights or driving in an un-safe manner.

You are also the diversion queen.

You expanded the discussion to include the concept of law.

Covenants are law.

Tell me what laws you broke today.

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 28, 2009 04:38 PM
45. Honestly, the solution to speeding and red light ticketing is RFID in the car for the red lights--you run a red light, it's there for the world to see then, as science cannot lie.

For speeding, simply install broadcast devices along all roads announcing the speed limit for that road, and have your answer back with it's current speed. Over the limit? Ticket in the mail.

Remove the human interpretation at all--humans suck.

If you had a valid reason to speed, go prove it to the judge. Rushing a pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth? Valid reason. Late for work? Fail. Shoulda woke up 10 minutes earlier.

Posted by: Joe Szilagyi on November 29, 2009 07:55 AM
46. Honestly, Joe Szilagyi @45...Your Orwellian world is Not what Americans seek. Americans want reasonable latitude in the making of their own decisions on when and where. The whole reason for traffic laws is to orchestrate Safety, tied to the allowance and expeditious management of traffic, getting you from point A to B. This is something that should not be locked in stone. A driver who is driving in an unsafe manner even, if he is driving below the posted speed limit because, of unusual icy hazardous conditions, he should be at risk of being held accountable. If road conditions allow for faster safe speeds than posted then, the driver should have the reasonable latitude to go faster. As long as the Spirit of the Law which is Safety, has not been broken then, the letter of the law should not be applied...PERIOD!

Posted by: Daniel on November 29, 2009 09:30 AM
47. @45

Brain dead. You could remove humans from the violation process, but the problem is that you can't remove humans as drivers. Humans are not computers and humans must to react to a yellow light making a decision one way or another. Being that humans are not computers, more time to react is better for humans.

Humans don't suck, you are speaking for yourself.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 29, 2009 09:58 AM
48. I agree, Daniel. The last thing we need is RFID's in our car or on our person. Anyone that wants that kind of world is not the type of person that the founding father's envisioned for their experiment in freedom.

And science can lie. One need only to look at AGW and the charlatan's pushing that mythology as fact as proof.

Posted by: Rick D. on November 29, 2009 10:05 AM
49. @43: No, SPFA, you created a strawman point, and you're arguing it. Carter's post was to see what is the timing of the yellow lights, and we have determined that they seem to be 3.5 seconds. The City of Seattle agreed, even said as much. And those times are below the Federal guidelines.

No, you're just being a moron, as usual. SDOT specifically stated that this was done for traffic control, to clear vehicles from the intersection. The 3.5 seconds of yellow INCLUDES an additional 1 second of red, meaning that the time between signals is still falling within parameters, but you don't have morons in the intersection while the opposite light turns green.

Now, in terms of why the city is using red light cameras... sure, revenue generation is important. Given that the city council removed the "head tax", I'm sure that you'd be tickled pink at the idea that additional funding would be coming from folks actually breaking the law.

The issue is NOT that, though. The primary (unfounded) point was that the City of Seattle is gaming the timing of the lights to maximize revenue. That has not been proven at any point.

Posted by: demo kid on November 30, 2009 08:19 AM
50. @48: I agree, Daniel. The last thing we need is RFID's in our car or on our person.

Screw EZPass!

Posted by: demo kid on November 30, 2009 08:22 AM
51. The issue is not if a given light has a total of 4.5 seconds of time between green in one direction and green in another, it is whether there is four or more seconds of yellow. Drivers have to react to the yellow. And if a driver has less time to react to a yellow and slams on his brakes, that's not safe.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 30, 2009 11:28 AM
52. Why have you decided upon "four or more" seconds as the safest number for yellow lights? Why not ten or more? Seriously, what is your standard from, Jeff B?

Posted by: John Jensen on November 30, 2009 01:08 PM
53. SPFA,

What can I say; you show that you cannot read. I guess there's no use for your inane ramblings here...

This is not about smoothing traffic or increasing safety; it is a revenue grab per Councilman Nick Licata (something you have never admitted, even though it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt). And it's been proven that the Seattle Government has adjusted yellow lights below national recommendations.

But you will ignore that because your liberal mindset simply cannot tolerate the concept that Government could do such a thing.

Centrifuge John,

You want to know where the limits come from? Try reading post 20.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 30, 2009 03:33 PM
54. I saw that post. We do not maintain the safety standards from 1976 for a reason. It was thirty three years ago.

Want to show "national recommendations" that aren't from 1976?

Posted by: John Jensen on November 30, 2009 07:23 PM
55. Hey John, you say they're not applicable?

Then YOU show new national recommendations. You make the claim, you back it up!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 30, 2009 08:00 PM
56. They aren't "national" recommendations. They're from a trade group in 1976, not from the federal government.

Uh, I haven't made a single claim, genius. I'm asking why have you decided upon "four or more" seconds as the safest number for yellow lights? Why not ten or more? Seriously, what is your standard from, Jeff B?

So if the answer is that his "standards" are from 1976 then my response is that technology has significantly changed since then and we should probably rely on "standards" that have been published more recently. Also, a 35 mph lane in Buckley or another rural area is different from one in a dense city, and the traffic and driving patterns are significantly different. I believe the burden of proof is on you to prove why this timing is so disastrous against the claims of Seattle's traffic engineers who are seemingly far more knowledgeable than any of us.

But if you demand that the burden of research is on me, then I'll admit that unlike many here I do not pretend to be a traffic engineer based on my anger over red-light cameras. I probably deal with Seattle yellows more than anyone here and have not felt particularly rushed or unsafe with the new timing.

Posted by: John Jensen on December 1, 2009 10:23 AM
57. And thus your rantings that we're all wet fall apart, as you have less to reference than what you decry... Good day!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on December 1, 2009 06:32 PM
58. Ever consider the fact that there aren't more recent references because yellow light timing isn't standardized? Because that is the reality. While Jeff B is attempting to argue from authority based on a document from 1976, the reality is that yellow-light timing is determined by local jurisdictions.

Posted by: John Jensen on December 1, 2009 10:37 PM
59. More Googling found that the ITE did release a report in 1985 that recommended yellow-light timing based on a formula (http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/armey/85proposed.pdf). On a 35 mph road at grade, the formula results in a yellow-light interval of 3.56 seconds -- 60 milliseconds in difference from the timed intersections above. Keep in mind, this is from nearly 25 years ago and car technology has improved, and city streets usually operate at lower speeds than posted. With these facts, 3.5 seconds seems reasonable.

(The ITE is the same organization that had 1976 recommendations you found so valuable. There are not federal standards.)

Posted by: John Jensen on December 1, 2009 10:51 PM
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