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On my way home from work for the past few years, I’ve noticed an odd signal behavior going north on 7th Street SE underneath the SE freeway. The intersections with Virginia Ave and I Streets SE are controlled with one traffic light each, but for northbound traffic, it seemed like the two lights were never green at the same time. In fact, just as the northern of the two lights was about to turn yellow and red, the southern light would turn green, allowing just enough time for maybe one or two cars to try to accelerate fast and beat the light. In my opinion, this race caused a hazardous situation, especially with pedestrians trying to cross I Street at the same time. When I have gone through the light during the middle of the day or in the morning, it didn’t seem like the light was timed quite the same way. If the lights could somehow be retimed to allow both green at the same time, perhaps drivers would not feel as rushed.
I contacted Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) through his homepage, who forwarded my question to DDOT. The very next day, I noticed that the traffic pattern was different. When I asked the DDOT employee about it, he stated that the light had its offset adjusted (no phase length change, just the relation to other lights), and offered to meet with me to discuss the signal. I think I may take him up on it today during the day, and I’ll post what I find out. There still appears to be an issue with the walk signal across Virginia Ave, in that the north/south green phase was made longer, but the walk phase didn’t seem to follow, so I’ll make sure to ask him about that.
This was great service from DDOT, and I appreciate the offer to meet and discuss what they did to correct the situation.