What's Broken

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May 16, 2005 // UPDATED 1:54 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Greg Corradini
Greg Corradini

An alert Skyway News reader has called attention to the idiosyncrasies of some traffic signals on 3rd Avenue South.

Mark Nelson, who works in the Accenture Tower at 333 S. 7th St., said he noticed that two left-turn signals at different intersections never seemed to be synchronized properly.

"Whenever one of the left-turn signals is activated, there is rarely a car [at the intersection] to either make a left-hand turn or even go straight ahead," he wrote in an e-mail.

The first signal allows northbound drivers on 3rd Avenue to take a left onto South 7th Street. The next signal lets southbound vehicles on 3rd Avenue turn left onto South 8th Street.

Public Works Transportation Systems Design Engineer Scott Tacheny said left-turn arrows went into every intersection on 3rd Avenue South approximately two years ago. The wiring work is contracted out by Public Works.

At those particular intersections, Tacheny said the detection devices in the street that monitor vehicle movements and trigger left-turn signals may not be hooked up, which would leave them on "recall" setting.

Left-turn signals on recall will activate during each street's light cycle - from green to red - regardless of whether traffic is at the intersection, he said. "I believe [the detection devices] are not in place yet and operational," Tacheny said. "I am not sure the contractor has completed that work."

After standing on the street corner for 12 consecutive left turn signals at both intersections, a Skyway News intern counted a total of seven vehicles barely make left turns on green arrows. All left-turn signals activated when there wasn't a vehicle present.

Tacheny said Public Works will investigate if the left-turn signals are working the way they are supposed to.

See something screwy on Downtown's streets and skyways? We can get help, or at least an answer. Reach us by e-mail at dbrauer@skywaynews.net, via fax at 825-0929, or by mail to 1115 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55403.