Discussion:
What's a double-red flashing light mean (Massachusetts)
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NadCixelsyd
2012-10-26 18:11:54 UTC
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A weird cross-walk signal on Beacon Street at Boston College.

Pedestrian pushes button, yellow light turns on (OK so far)
5 seconds later, the light changes to double red (two red lights are
touching each other)
30? seconds later the red lights flash alternately (kinda like a RR
crossing, but there's no distance between the two lights.)
15? seconds later, the lights turn off and await the next pedestrian.

So, what do the double-flashing lights mean? Should I treat them as
flashing red (stop, then go) or stop-and-wait?
Jimmy
2012-10-26 19:00:52 UTC
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Post by NadCixelsyd
A weird cross-walk signal on Beacon Street at Boston College.
Pedestrian pushes button, yellow light turns on  (OK so far)
5 seconds later, the light changes to double red (two red lights are
touching each other)
30? seconds later the red lights flash alternately (kinda like a RR
crossing, but there's no distance between the two lights.)
15? seconds later, the lights turn off and await the next pedestrian.
So, what do the double-flashing lights mean?  Should I treat them as
flashing red (stop, then go) or stop-and-wait?
It's a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (also known as a HAWK, in an attempt
to be as annoying as the British with bird-themed crosswalk type
names). http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4f.htm

The MUTCD doesn't explain what drivers have to do during the flashing
red phase. It just says pedestrians have a flashing don't walk then.
I think they make a point of not saying things like that, so the feds
can pretend the states still have control over traffic laws. Other
websites say you can stop and proceed.

When I saw that installation (or maybe another nearby), I was confused
for a second because I'm not used to seeing a traffic light that's
totally dark.

Jimmy
Harry K
2012-10-27 20:14:33 UTC
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Post by Jimmy
Post by NadCixelsyd
A weird cross-walk signal on Beacon Street at Boston College.
Pedestrian pushes button, yellow light turns on  (OK so far)
5 seconds later, the light changes to double red (two red lights are
touching each other)
30? seconds later the red lights flash alternately (kinda like a RR
crossing, but there's no distance between the two lights.)
15? seconds later, the lights turn off and await the next pedestrian.
So, what do the double-flashing lights mean?  Should I treat them as
flashing red (stop, then go) or stop-and-wait?
It's a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (also known as a HAWK, in an attempt
to be as annoying as the British with bird-themed crosswalk type
names).  http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4f.htm
The MUTCD doesn't explain what drivers have to do during the flashing
red phase.  It just says pedestrians have a flashing don't walk then.
I think they make a point of not saying things like that, so the feds
can pretend the states still have control over traffic laws.  Other
websites say you can stop and proceed.
When I saw that installation (or maybe another nearby), I was confused
for a second because I'm not used to seeing a traffic light that's
totally dark.
Jimmy
Way back in the 60s I took a new car on a trip through the New England
sstates to build up mileage for one of the maintenance jobs. Ran into
a blinking GREEN light!! WTF did or does that mean?

Harry K
Paul S Wolf
2012-10-27 23:56:36 UTC
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Post by Harry K
Post by Jimmy
Post by NadCixelsyd
A weird cross-walk signal on Beacon Street at Boston College.
Pedestrian pushes button, yellow light turns on (OK so far)
5 seconds later, the light changes to double red (two red lights are
touching each other)
30? seconds later the red lights flash alternately (kinda like a RR
crossing, but there's no distance between the two lights.)
15? seconds later, the lights turn off and await the next pedestrian.
So, what do the double-flashing lights mean? Should I treat them as
flashing red (stop, then go) or stop-and-wait?
It's a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (also known as a HAWK, in an attempt
to be as annoying as the British with bird-themed crosswalk type
names). http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4f.htm
The MUTCD doesn't explain what drivers have to do during the flashing
red phase. It just says pedestrians have a flashing don't walk then.
I think they make a point of not saying things like that, so the feds
can pretend the states still have control over traffic laws. Other
websites say you can stop and proceed.
Drivers must remain stopped during the Flashing RED period until the
pedestrian(s) have cleared the lanes in the direction the driver is
going, then the drivers may proceed with caution. (In other words,
Drivers facing the alternating flashing red signal indications must stop
and then proceed subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at
a STOP sign.) As noted above, the MUTCD is silent about this in the
section about Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (4F), but it does describe the
meaning in the section on the similar Emergency-Vehicle Hybrid Beacons
(4G.04 - paragraph 6).
Post by Harry K
Post by Jimmy
When I saw that installation (or maybe another nearby), I was confused
for a second because I'm not used to seeing a traffic light that's
totally dark.
Jimmy
Way back in the 60s I took a new car on a trip through the New England
sstates to build up mileage for one of the maintenance jobs. Ran into
a blinking GREEN light!! WTF did or does that mean?
Harry K
That was unique to Massachusetts.

It meant that it was a signalized/actuated pedestrian crossing. When a
pedestrian wanted to cross, and pushed a pushbutton, it would change to
Yellow, then Red, to stop all vehicles, then to RED and YELLOW together,
which was the equivalent of the WALK / and Flashing DONT WALK phases
(but no pedestrian signals were installed.
--
Paul S. Wolf, PE (Ret.), FITE
mailto:***@alum.wpi.edu
Fellow, Institute of Transportation Engineers
Jimmy
2012-10-30 18:05:27 UTC
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Post by Paul S Wolf
Post by Harry K
Way back in the 60s I took a new car on a trip through the New England
sstates to build up mileage for one of the maintenance jobs.  Ran into
a blinking GREEN light!!  WTF did or does that mean?
That was unique to Massachusetts.
It meant that it was a signalized/actuated pedestrian crossing.
Why the past tense? http://goo.gl/maps/0MDS0
Scroll forward to see the green light go on and off.

Jimmy
Clark F Morris
2012-10-28 01:18:55 UTC
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Post by Harry K
Post by Jimmy
Post by NadCixelsyd
A weird cross-walk signal on Beacon Street at Boston College.
Pedestrian pushes button, yellow light turns on  (OK so far)
5 seconds later, the light changes to double red (two red lights are
touching each other)
30? seconds later the red lights flash alternately (kinda like a RR
crossing, but there's no distance between the two lights.)
15? seconds later, the lights turn off and await the next pedestrian.
So, what do the double-flashing lights mean?  Should I treat them as
flashing red (stop, then go) or stop-and-wait?
It's a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (also known as a HAWK, in an attempt
to be as annoying as the British with bird-themed crosswalk type
names).  http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4f.htm
The MUTCD doesn't explain what drivers have to do during the flashing
red phase.  It just says pedestrians have a flashing don't walk then.
I think they make a point of not saying things like that, so the feds
can pretend the states still have control over traffic laws.  Other
websites say you can stop and proceed.
When I saw that installation (or maybe another nearby), I was confused
for a second because I'm not used to seeing a traffic light that's
totally dark.
Jimmy
Way back in the 60s I took a new car on a trip through the New England
sstates to build up mileage for one of the maintenance jobs. Ran into
a blinking GREEN light!! WTF did or does that mean?
At least in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the flashing green is the
same as a green bullseye plus green arrow meaning that the opposing
traffic is stopped and left turns don't have to yield. Normally this
is also an advance green.

Clark Morris
Post by Harry K
Harry K
Harry K
2012-10-28 14:50:17 UTC
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Post by Clark F Morris
Post by Harry K
Post by Jimmy
Post by NadCixelsyd
A weird cross-walk signal on Beacon Street at Boston College.
Pedestrian pushes button, yellow light turns on (OK so far)
5 seconds later, the light changes to double red (two red lights are
touching each other)
30? seconds later the red lights flash alternately (kinda like a RR
crossing, but there's no distance between the two lights.)
15? seconds later, the lights turn off and await the next pedestrian.
So, what do the double-flashing lights mean? Should I treat them as
flashing red (stop, then go) or stop-and-wait?
It's a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (also known as a HAWK, in an attempt
to be as annoying as the British with bird-themed crosswalk type
names).http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4f.htm
The MUTCD doesn't explain what drivers have to do during the flashing
red phase. It just says pedestrians have a flashing don't walk then.
I think they make a point of not saying things like that, so the feds
can pretend the states still have control over traffic laws. Other
websites say you can stop and proceed.
When I saw that installation (or maybe another nearby), I was confused
for a second because I'm not used to seeing a traffic light that's
totally dark.
Jimmy
Way back in the 60s I took a new car on a trip through the New England
sstates to build up mileage for one of the maintenance jobs.  Ran into
a blinking GREEN light!!  WTF did or does that mean?
At least in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the flashing green is the
same as a green bullseye plus green arrow meaning that the opposing
traffic is stopped and left turns don't have to yield.  Normally this
is also an advance green.
Clark Morris
Post by Harry K
Harry K
Good explanations and also an outstanding example of why ALL signals
should be standard.

Harry K
Paul D. DeRocco
2012-10-31 02:43:19 UTC
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Post by Jimmy
It's a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (also known as a HAWK, in an attempt
to be as annoying as the British with bird-themed crosswalk type
names). http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part4/part4f.htm
This seems to me to be a stupid invention. The only explanation I can
think of for the flashing yellow phase is to inform oncoming drivers
that there is a light there, rather than suddenly turning on a yellow
light where there was previously no light. But given that there is no
need for having two red lights, one might as well simply use a
conventional G/Y/R light, since everyone already knows what that means.
Or are they trying to be "green" by not having a green light on all the
time? With modern LEDs, the power consumption is pretty puny.

I always liked the G/Y/R with a flashing green that they use in
Massachusetts. Same hardware, programmed slightly differently, and the
flashing reassures drivers that the light is unlikely to change.
--
Ciao, Paul D. DeRocco
Paul mailto:***@ix.netcom.com
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