Tag Archives: detection

Radar vehicle detection coming to 11th and Warren

The in basket: Tom Baker of the city of Bremerton electronics shop has encouraged me for a couple of years to attend a yearly conference of traffic electronics experts and merchants in Seattle. This year I went (it was Feb. 11) and it was a wealth of information.

The first person I talked with in a large room of industry representatives was Mike Singson, who turned out to have been on the phone with Jeff Collins of the Bremerton electronics shop just 20 minutes earlier to answer a question about Wavetronix. That’s the brand name his company, Advanced Traffic Products, uses for an alternative means to detect traffic at stop lights.

It uses radar, and is an alternative to the decades-old technology of in-pavement wires, called “loops,” and the newer cameras you will see on tall posts atop the signal cross-arms at many Kitsap County intersections.

The city of Bremerton will try Wavetronix on three of the four legs of the Warren Avenue-11th Street intersection currently undergoing a major reconstruction.

It and cameras, being installed overhead, have the advantage of being repairable without having to dig up the intersection. Mike Singson says radar is better because snow, fog, heavy rain, glare and other problems don’t interfere with it, as he says they can with the cameras.

This may be the first installation of it in this county.

Gunnar Fridriksson of the city street engineers says, “Yes, we are installing the Wavetronix at 11th and Warren.

“The eastbound 11th Street loops are in the concrete section of the roadway and are working

fine, so we are not going to replace them. The other three legs of the

intersection are where we are going to use them.

“The southbound Warren (loops) were

destroyed over a month ago with work extending the turn lane, so this

direction is already using Wavetronix temporarily. The other two

legs (westbound 11th and northbound Warren) will have their loops destroyed when we

grind the intersection out to repave.

“With the grind, repaving, etc…, we were looking at seven days at a minimum (and

that would, of course, be subject to weather, as well) of having the

intersection run on a timer, which will be tough on traffic.

“The technology has evolved so much with radar detection and the installation of these units have so much less impact on traffic versus

cutting loops in,” Gunnar said, “we wanted to try it at this intersection and

the temporary detection seems to be working perfectly so far.”

Right turners and traffic detection

The in basket: Dave Dahlke asks, “What’s with the traffic light at the South Kitsap Mall? If a car comes up from the mall to take a right turn onto the highway the light almost always turns green for it without even giving the vehicle driver the chance to execute a free right. 

“The light stays red longer for drivers desiring to make a left turn onto the highway or to go straight through then for those vehicles which have the option of a free right turn. This causes numerous stops to east-west traffic on the highway.

“I have never seen a backup in the right turn lane from this parking lot and have to question why there is even a trigger for this light from the right turn lane.

“I believe the light should not be activated any sooner (if at all) then it is for those cars utilizing the right turn lanes at Long Lake Road, Woods Road and California Avenue,” Dave said.

The out basket: Actually, the lane for straight-ahead traffic and right-turn traffic coming out of the mall parking lot (It’s called Towne Square Mall now) is the same lane.

And that accounts for the detection in the right turn lane, says Jim Johnstone of the Olympic Region signal shop in Tumwater. If they didn’t have it, straight ahead traffic wouldn’t be detected. 

The other Mile Hill Drive signals David cites as preferable have dedicated lanes for right turners in at least one direction. They also belong to Kitsap County. The state owns and operates the mall signal.

I watched it one day recently and found it hard to see whether the time that elapsed between the arrival of a right turner and a green light for that car was attributable to that car’s arrival. 

When there was traffic coming out of the high school complex on the highway’s opposite side, or a car wanting to go straight out of the mall, the count-down to a red light for Mile Hill Drive traffic often had already begun before the right turner even showed up. Pedestrians who had triggered their light for crossing the highway have the same effect. 

Jim says because traffic crossing the highway is light except when classes at the high school end for the day, and because of Dave’s observations, he has put a 7-second delay on the right turn-through signal leaving the mall. A car now has to be there seven second before the light will detect it. It then will take at least four seconds longer for the light to turn green, stopping traffic on Mile Hill Drive. 

“Please understand that this may minimize, but will not eliminate the signal changing to the side street as a right turner departs from the intersection,” he said. 

Seven seconds won’t be enough if traffic heading east on Mile Hill Drive is heavy, I would guess, or when two or three vehicles are waiting to turn right onto Mile Hill (it does happen).

Incidentally, the right turn lane delays on the county’s signals farther east on Mile Hill Drive are 10 seconds, except at Long Lake Road, where there is no traffic detection in the right turn lane.

Detection temporarily out at Belfair signal

 

The in basket: Julie Burghardt of Allyn asks “What’s the reason for the change in the light cycle for the traffic light at Highway 3 and NE Clifton Lane in Belfair? 

“For the overnight cycle, the light used to stay green for Highway 3 traffic unless a car on Clifton needed the green. Beginning about a month ago, the light now stays green for Clifton unless traffic on Highway 3 triggers a green.  Needless to say, the light is being triggered a lot more often now than it used to be. 

“I’m hoping this is an inadvertent or temporary change, or if it isn’t they can at least speed up the trigger response time.”

The out basket: It has to do with construction going on at that location, says Don Anders of the Olympic Region signal shop for state highways. No detection system is working for Clifton traffic. “The side road loops have been cut,” he said.  “We will have this approach on fixed time until the new loops are repaired and the signal will serve this approach even if no vehicles are present (until then).  This is a temporary condition, but I am not sure how long it will be before the contractor gets the loops installed.”

After eading this on line, on the Road Warrior blog at kitsapsun.com, Joe Myall asked if the same thing explains the odd behavior of the Sidney and Bay Street light in downtown Port Orchard. Good guess. The detector cables are cut there, too, while a whole new signal system is put in, and the lights are on timers until they are redone.