BUFFALO, NY – Western New York’s first traffic signal featuring a flashing yellow left turn signal will be operational within the next few weeks, according to the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT).
The signal, being installed at the intersection of State Route 384 (Delaware Avenue) and Kenmore Avenue as part of a $2 million repaving of the intersection, will become the 62nd location across the state to feature the turn signal with a flashing yellow arrow phase.
The first one in the state was installed six years ago in Binghamton, and the signals have been in use in several other states across the country for at least a decade.
According to the DOT:
"Traffic signals with a flashing yellow arrow phase are used at intersections where there is an exclusive right- or left-turn lane with a protected green arrow, which allows motorists to turn while oncoming traffic is stopped. The signal changes from a green arrow to a solid yellow arrow, indicating that a red signal is coming and turning motorists should not enter the intersection. A red arrow is then displayed, allowing traffic from the oncoming direction to begin proceeding through the intersection. After opposing traffic gets the green phase, the turn arrow begins flashing yellow, indicating that turning vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic but may proceed when there is a safe gap in traffic. The signal then turns returns to a solid yellow arrow and then to a red arrow as traffic on the other road is allowed to proceed through the intersection."
Pedestrians crossing the road always have the right-of-way over turning vehicles.
The Michigan Department of Transportation produced a video outlining how the signals work.
While there may be some early confusion among Western New York drivers, the DOT insists that “In a national study conducted by the Transportation Research Board as part of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, drivers made fewer mistakes with the new signals than with traditional left turn arrows.”
Another advantage, according to the DOT, is that traffic flow is improved because motorists are no longer waiting unnecessarily at the light if there is an opportunity to proceed safely when no oncoming traffic is present.