Blinking white lights puzzle a reader

The in basket: Bernice Lee e-mailed to say, “Here and there around Bremerton, there are small white lights mounted on the signal light bars which blink rapidly for no apparent reason.
“When the one at the Sheridan and Wheaton Way intersection was blinking, the light facing me was green. That doesn’t make sense if these are ‘red light photo’ lights, nor as an added incentive for people to stop at a red light,” she said.
“There is also one at 15th and Naval Avenue, at the corner of the cemetery,” she said.


The in basket: Bernice Lee e-mailed to say, “Here and there around Bremerton, there are small white lights mounted on the signal light bars which blink rapidly for no apparent reason. 
“When the one at the Sheridan and Wheaton Way intersection was blinking, the light facing me was green.  That doesn’t make sense if these are ‘red light photo’ lights, nor as an added incentive for people to stop at a red light,” she said.
“What are these lights, and why do they blink in my eyes when the light is green?” she asked. “There is also one at 15th and Naval Avenue, at the corner of the cemetery. Do you know what these lights are doing?” 
The out basket: It’s odd no one has asked me about them in Road Warrior before this. I devoted so much ink to them in news stories back before Road Warrior was born in 1996, it’s easy to forget newcomers or those who didn’t read those stories might be perplexed by them.
They warn drivers that a vehicle with a transmitter able to turn the light green in its direction of travel has taken control of the signal. Mostly, those are transit buses that are behind schedule (the drivers aren’t supposed to change the lights if they are on schedule), but emergency vehicles can do it too.
Bernice didn’t think that explanation seemed very likely, but that’s the way the transmitter warning lights work (they blink) and I don’t see any other lights on those signal crossbars.

3 thoughts on “Blinking white lights puzzle a reader

  1. I thought everybody knew this.
    I’m happy when I see a city bus behind me, and that little white light is blinking…

    I KNOW I’ll get the green light very soon :o)

    I DO notice it also when police, fire or rescue are headed toward the light.

    If driver’s were paying attention, they would figure this out.

    This is a no-brainer, no duh!! :o)

  2. What are the blue lights at the intersection of Burwell Street and Naval Avenue for?
    (Road Warrior reply: They come on when the light changes to red on the cross street.
    They allow a policer to sit to the side of the intersection and know when a car has run a red light, which is a safer position from which to pursue the violator, as it doesn’t require the officer to go through the red light himself)

  3. So does somebody need to explain to the Kitsap Transit drivers that “not arriving at the transit center with enough time for a long smoke break” doesn’t mean the same thing as “behind schedule”?
    I regularly see the KT driver buses abusing their magic button, especially at the intersection of Wheaton Way and Sylvan Way. They’ll use it on the way into the transfer center at 20 minutes after the hour, with 10 minutes before they have to leave, then again on their way out of the transfer center. This really screws up traffic at this busy intersection, especially for people crossing on Sylvan.
    What do we have to do to overcome the KT drivers’ contempt for the public and stop them abusing this privilege? Do we have to pass an ordinance to have the devices removed from the buses altogether?

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