Tag Archives: detector

What’s the point of 13th & Warren traffic detectors?

The in basket: I noticed that the new traffic signal at 13th and Warren in Bremerton has traffic detection wires (called “loops”) cut into the asphalt on Warren, even though left turns are forbidden by signs suspended over the intersection there and right turns don’t require a green light.

Having noticed that, I looked at Warren’s pavement just up the street at 16th Street, the entrance to Olympic College. It also has wires to detect southbound traffic, even though the only signal-controlled turn permitted there southbound was eliminated when right turns were given a Yield sign.

I asked what good the detectors do.

The out basket: Gunnar Fridricksson of the city street engineers says, “At 13th Street, the loops are functioning and being used now for vehicle

detection on Warren.  Even though left-hand turns on Warren are prohibited, the signal system still needs to know where the demand is.

“Same story at 16th Street – except for the southbound right turn lane,” he said.  “That

loop is still there, but I believe has been disconnected in the cabinet, as the Yield sign controls the lane.”

Without the loops, the signal would detect constant traffic on Warren, he said, just as it does when one of the in-pavement detectors fails. It won’t change as needed.

Shorewood Drive signal on Kitsap Way misbehaving

The in basket: My grandson-in-law, Steven Christensen of the Lake Symington area, told me at a holiday dinner that he had run into a frustrating situation at the Shorewood Drive traffic signal on Kitsap Way in Bremerton on his way to and from graveyard shift duty at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton.

The signal has been defaulting to green on the side street and red on Kitsap Way, resulting in long and unnecessary waits for those, like him, on Kitsap Way.

Whenever he gets stopped at a red light at the next signal north, he can see the Shorewood Drive light,  Steven said. When a car is waiting at the red-light on Kitsap Way, it eventually will turn green, letting the car proceed. But it then immediately turns red again, green for Shorewood traffic (of which there is usually none that time of night) before he can get there.

The out basket: Jeff Collins of the city of Bremerton signal shop says the contractor working on the Winco supermarket preparation had to cut the in-pavement traffic detection wires on Shorewood during storm drain work, causing the signal to conclude there are always cars waiting on Shorewood.

The problem is less noticeable during the day when Kitsap Way’s signals are coordinated with one another.

The contractor plans a temporary fix to be done this week, Jeff said. Perhaps it’s already been done.



Detection loop acting up at Park and 11th

The in basket: Gary Reed wrote in mid-July to say, “I’ve noticed the traffic signals at 11th Street and Park Avenue (in Bremerton) are defaulting to green on Park and red on 11th.  

“The last several weeks I along with several other cars have stopped on 11th to wait while the cycle runs,” he said, “only there has been no traffic on Park. Is this an intentional revision or is there something amiss with the controller?”

The out basket: There’s a problem with the controller, says Jeff Collins, who heads the city signal shop. 

“We are having some trouble with the detection loops,” he said. “The ones on Park keep sticking on and have to be reset.

“The loops need replacing but until finances get better we will continue to reset them when we get notified,” he said. Call (360) 473-5920 from 7:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Friday to report this or any water, sewer, traffic

sign and traffic signal issues in the city. Leave a message after hours.

Pioneer Way light may have detection problem


The in basket: Dan Godeke writes to say that he thinks the new traffic signal at Highway 3 and Pioneer Way in North Kitsap has a problem. 

“I have been watching the detector loop on Pioneer Way,” he said, “and found that it is not picking up cars consistently. It will sometimes let only three cars go through the light before turning yellow even when a long string of cars are waiting.

“What I have noticed is that if a long truck is one of the ones going through, the light will quickly turn yellow and I think it is because the loop is not detecting the high undercarriage of the trailer.  The other time I notice this is if several cars in a row turn right, they miss going over the loop and again it thinks no other cars are in line.

“Perhaps what is needed is another loop set back about 50 feet or so that it will see cars still in line waiting when one of the above happens.” Dan suggested.

The out basket: Don Anders, head of the Olympic Region signal shop for the state, says, “We will have a crew check this detection system out, but we normally do not have trouble detecting trucks.”  

He said they may have to adjust the gap time, meaning the period of time, often about three seconds, that tells a traffic signal’s detectors that no more traffic is at the signal, prompting it to turn the light red. They call it “gapping out.”

“It’s important that drivers always stay in the center of the lane, this is the most sensitive area or detection zone,” Don added. “Right turners will sometimes get off center and create this gap out problem.

“On our signals we have advance loops (behind the stop bar loops) on the mainline, but we do not have these on the side road approaches. This is done for two reasons,” he said, “first is the approach speeds are much slower, and second these loops would be outside of our right of way and sometimes on private property.”

I’m glad this came up, because I often see right turners dawdle  in the through lane before moving over, not getting to the through lane detectors but keeping the traffic behind them from getting there before the light gaps out.

Drivers unaware of the concept of gap time should be aware of it as a courtesy to those behind them trying to make the light.