Flashing left arrows coming to Dallas?

Last week, I told Far North Dallas Back Talkers about the new traffic lights the city of Richardson has installed at three intersections on Coit Road, and it got me thinking about whether the city of Dallas is looking at installing similar lights.

If it happens, it won’t be for a while, according to Mark Titus, a traffic systems program manager for the city of Dallas, who was pleasantly surprised that yours truly would want to know about the city’s traffic lights.

There isn’t any funding for new intersection construction at this time, he said, but if new projects come up, they may be used as a pilot program for the new lights.

“We would probably do what other cities are doing, take a few test locations and try it out,” Titus said. “Now that there are some in the area, there’s going to be some media coverage, so we’ll be able to take the pulse of folks and know how it’s being received.”

In addition to Richardson, Irving and Garland are also experimenting with the new lights.

Titus said the new lights don’t cost more than the traditional left turn lights, but there is a cost associated with a software upgrade to the intersection’s “conflict monitor,” the program that makes sure conflicting directions don’t both get green lights, or one direction’s lights are all out, among other potentially dangerous scenarios. Apparently, with the old software, when the yellow light flashes off, the conflict monitor sees that as a failure, and switches the intersection to all flashing red lights.

That change wouldn’t be hard, and the city’s traffic systems could handle it if the decision were made to make the light switch.

“We’ve investigated far enough to know what we think would be required on our part to make it happen,” Titus said.


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  • Patsy Summey

    Tyler, Texas, already has the “left on blinking yellow arrow” turn lights–and it seems to be working fine there. It just makes sense to offer an alternative to wasting gas waiting your turn in a “left on green arrow only” lane when there’s no on-coming traffic. If Dallas would adopt it–maybe Cedar Hill would, too!