Starting Monday, the city will activate a new traffic signal that is expected to alleviate some of the usual downtown backup drivers are familiar with.
What's called a "protected/permissive" left turn light has been installed at the intersection of Main and Ray streets, adjacent to the Rose Hotel and Oasis Grille.
Drivers heading southbound into the downtown who want to make a left turn onto Ray Street will do so on a green arrow. When all southbound left turn traffic has made turns or when the timing reaches its maximum, a yellow arrow will come on, then it will turn off. Drivers will still be able to make a left on Ray after that point, but they will have to wait until it's clear--the way the intersection currently works.
The current signal configuration tends to back traffic up to the train tracks while left-turn drivers wait for a break in northbound traffic and for pedestrians to cross the street. Since Main Street is only a two-lane road, drivers who want to go straight have to wait for cars in front of them to turn left.