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Galveston County
City of Galveston
News Release
Thursday, February 16, 2017

BLINKING YELLOW LIGHTS BEING INSTALLED ON 61ST TO EASE TRAFFIC CONGESTION

During non-peak hours, residents will be able to left turn yield on flashing yellow.

Galveston, TX - Traffic signals along 61st Street between Seawall and Broadway are being altered to add a blinking yellow arrow for left turns. The blinking arrow is meant to signify to motorists that they can legally make a left turn but must yield to other traffic.

In an effort to safely ease congestion along 61st, the lights will operate as blinking yellow lights only during non-peak hours. Solid green left turn signals will be used during morning and evening rush hour due to the number of vehicles on the roadway. While the signals are used elsewhere in the state, these will be the first ones with flashing yellow arrows in the City of Galveston.

Initially, the blinking yellow lights will be installed at every intersection along 61st for the left turn lanes to go east and west on the connecting streets, with the exception of Broadway and 61st. The first signal was installed late last week on 61st and Stewart.

The City hopes to implement these signals throughout the City, but will base that decision on their performance along the 61st Street corridor. “The Traffic Department will be closely monitoring the performance of this updated technology to see if it will significantly ease congestion as anticipated,” said the City’s Public Works Director Kyle Hockersmith. “If all goes as planned, we hope to install these throughout the City to help keep traffic moving throughout the City.”

To view the information video explaining how to use the blinking yellow lights please visit www.galvestontx.gov/blinkingyellowlights

HELPFUL INFORMATION FROM TXDOT ON WHAT THE ARROWS MEAN

  • Steady red arrow = Stop. No left turns allowed.

  • Steady yellow arrow = Prepare to stop.

  • Flashing yellow arrow = Left turns allowed, but must yield to oncoming traffic.

  • Steady green arrow = Left turns allowed and protected.

Flashing yellow arrow left-turn signals are a new standard for signals where a driver must yield to oncoming traffic to turn left. Research has shown that this new signal is safer, more efficient and a more consistent approach for left-turn lanes.

Flashing yellow arrow signals will be gradually phased in to replace the traditional circular green signals currently used to let drivers know that they must yield on green to turn left.

THE PROBLEM

A left turn can be one of the most challenging actions a driver can undertake. Left turn signals have been designed to let drivers know when they can safely turn across oncoming traffic, but the wide variety to types of signals used across the country can be confusing.

In particular, when drivers are shown a green turn signal, they may not understand that the turn is not protected and that they must yield to oncoming traffic. 

THE SOLUTION

Research has shown that the new Flashing Yellow Arrow signals are safer and more easily understood by drivers than the traditional "yield on green" signals.

These new signals provide additional opportunities for a driver to make a safe left turn than traditional signals.




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