You can see traffic lights, and they can see you

Dear Johnnie: Do the traffic lights in Longmont change according to prescribed timing, or are they triggered by cross traffic arriving at the intersection? — Curious

Dear Curious: The answer is — both.

Transportation engineer Bob Ball tells me that “most traffic signals in Longmont have different timing plans for different times of the day, such as a.m. and p.m. peak traffic periods. Conversely, late at night signals operate in either ‘free’ mode or in flash mode. Regardless of how signals are operating, side-street traffic or pedestrians are still needed to trigger a green light or walk indication for the side street.”

I’ve observed this myself, late at night, when I saw the traffic light on a major street cycle from green to red and immediately back to green. There was no side-street traffic.

 

Dear Johnnie: I would like to ask about what I think is an unsafe situation. It’s at the corner of Longs Peak and Hover.

If you are driving west on Longs Peak you of course stop at the stop sign at Hover. But, from that stop sign you cannot see if anyone is coming down the sidewalk on the right, people who would be heading south. Even if you inch out super slowly you can never see if anyone is coming. Maybe you can in the winter. Since this is the only sidewalk — there isn’t one on the other side of Hover — bikers and walker use it going both ways. Bikers come down it sometimes pretty quickly and cross Longs Peak going fast. I would hope they would see the front of my car inching slowly up, but I’m never sure. Wondering if something can be done about this unsafe situation. — Concerned

Dear Concerned: I know exactly what you’re talking about.

Years ago, after leaving Sunset Pool with the kids, my wife headed down Longs Peak Avenue toward Hover Street. After stopping behind the stop sign, she accelerated slowly

into her right turn, checking left, right, left and then right to be sure the way was clear. As

The sidewalk on the northeast corner of Hover Street and Longs Peak Avenue. (Lewis Geyer/Times-Call)

she did, a southbound cyclist shot into the intersection. The fellow hit the van pretty hard.

Bob Ball confirmed that the Hover sidewalk is used by cyclists, and he observed that the downhill grade “allows bikes to easily travel at a pretty good speed.”

He checked out the intersection for himself and told me that because the trees and shrubs had grown out along the sidewalk, the city would trim back the growth.

“We would also like to remind any readers who ride their bikes down this sidewalk to look both ways for cars at Longs Peak Avenue and other intersections along this section of Hover, and to enter intersections at slower speeds. There might be a car turning from Hover, and cars approaching from the east often need to pull up to the sidewalk area to see up and down Hover Street.”

And, yes, my wife stopped and helped the man. He was scraped up but otherwise OK, thank God.

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