Diamond shapes on signal cross-arms go unquestioned

The in basket: Usually when something unfamiliar shows up on the cross-arms of traffic signal poles, I get a question from someone who suspects we’re being tracked electronically.

That was the question when tall, camera-like objects were put on the cross-arms a few years back. And when camera-like devices like the one in the arcing off-ramp from southbound Highway 303 to Central Valley Road and along the uphill lanes of Port Orchard Boulevard appeared.

The first ones are optical traffic detectors that replace the in-pavement wire detectors that are expensive to work on when they fail. The others allow emergency vehicles to change an upcoming traffic signal to green even though it’s  around a curve from the approaching vehicles.

It hasn’t happened this time, although diamond-shaped devices I hadn’t noticed before have appeared on the signals on Mile Hill Drive in South Kitsap in front of South Park Village shopping center and at Long Lake Road.

Those are Kitsap County signals, so I asked the county about them.

The out basket: Doug Bear, spokesman for county public works says, “Those are radio antennas that are placed at intersections where we don’t have wire connections for the signals.”  They allow the county signal shop to communicate with the signal to diagnose problems and check on and/or alter its operation. “They are pretty uncommon as we usually have wired connections,” he said.

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