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BLINKING RED TRAFFIC LIGHT MEANS STOP AND YIELD RIGHT-OF-WAY!

Original post made by frank on Feb 4, 2008

Today saw the possibility of perhaps two fatalities in Pleasanton except for the events taking place within about a half second. The light at Montevino Dr. and Vineyard was blinking red in all directions, an indication of a problem with the light. All traffic lights are programmed to go to blinking red when there is some internal failure of its normal operation.

Blinking red means that you treat it as a stop sign. This is something you must know when you pass the DMV test in order to get your license. I came up to Vineyard driving on Montevino and stopped. Traffic on my left was obeying the rule, stopping and yielding right of way. As I normally do, I looked a second time to my right just as I was to begin driving into the intersection when there suddenly appeared a woman driving her SUV somewhere north of the 35 mph limit, talking on her cell phone, who blew through the intersection and appeared oblivious to the great danger she created. I braked and immediately went on the horn, which seemed to wake her up a bit as indicated by a brief flash of her brake lights.

Folks, red light running, which is epidemic in Pleasanton, is dangerous, but obliviousness to blinking red lights is even more so.

Comments (5)

Posted by Becky, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 5, 2008 at 5:45 pm

We know first hand how dangerous the intersection of Montevino and Vineyard is - a lady ran the red light and totaled our daughters car then claimed our daughter was talking on her cell phone! Thank god for cell phone records we were able to prove our daughter was infact NOT on her cell phone at the time. When approaching Vineyard from Montevino always take a few extra seconds to make sure the traffic from the other direction STOPS on a red...it may save your life!


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Frank -- Right up there with running reds and not knowing what a blinking red light means are those individuals who do not understand the difference between a broken or a solid white line. For those who are oblivious in this area -- Solid lines discourage crossing and should not be crossed. Broken lines may be crossed. Remember that next time one is trying to enter the Shell Gas Station at Hopyard and West Las Positas.


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 5, 2008 at 9:31 pm

"appeared oblivious to the great danger she created"
At least she was protected from the danger in her SUV!
'SUV's, just what you need for maximum protection for running red lights (or blinking red lights)!'


Posted by Mike Tassano, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2008 at 8:46 am

I agree with Becky's recommendation and encourage caution upon entering all intersections, whether in flash or normal operation.

While the traffic engineering division strives to minimize the time signals are in flash, there are times where preventative maintenance will not eliminate a failure. In the case of Vineyard @ Montevino, the computer controlling the signals faulted placing the signals in flash. We repaired the unit and when it faulted again on the second day, we replaced the unit.

While these faults cause a disruption to the service of the traffic signal and create an inconvenience tothe motorist, the majority of drivers do understand and obey a flashing red light.

Where we see a greater violation rate is when a signal goes dark (from a PG&E outage for example) and there is not the flashing red light.

The law is the same for a dark signal as it is for a flashing red signal, which requires motorists to treat the intersection as an all way stop.

Unfortunately, the lack of a red indication, flashing or solid, appears to create a greater violation rate. For this reason, the City is in the process of placing battery back-up power at all traffic signals. This will allow normal operation and flash operation during times of power outages and minimize the disruption to the signal operation.

If you have questions or concerns relating to traffic signals or other traffic elements, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,
Mike Tassano
Deputy Director of Public Works, Transporation
(925) 931-5670


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Thank you Mike.

My opinion is that you and your department provide excellent service in our city. Regarding the Montevino/Vineyard light in question, I see your folks there working and know you are on top of the issues.

I believe your rankings on violation rate are accurate. However, my main point is that enough people don't understand what to do at either a flashing red OR a dark light situation that a significant hazard is created by their ignorance. Since problematic lights will always be the case, the driving public has a duty to know what to do.


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