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Los Angeles considers making yellow lights longer: Good idea?

September 19, 2011 |  8:46 am

LA considers lengthening yellow light
Talk back LALos Angeles is considering whether to increase the time that yellow lights are illuminated as traffic signals cycle from green to red as a way to improve safety at intersections.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has proposed studying the effects of lengthening the yellow signal -- a move that comes after the city decided to kill its controversial red-light camera traffic enforcement program.

The Times' Ari Bloomekatz reported that Rosendahl also wants a review of a so-called all-stop option, a practice already in place in which signals turn red in every direction before permitting any traffic to pass.

The idea caught on with some council members during this summer's debates over the red-light cameras and after reports that smaller cities, such as Loma Linda, had positive results after they ditched their cameras and changed yellow-light times.

"Intersections which exhibit a higher than average number of red-light-related collisions most likely have either a yellow phase or all-red phase which is too short," said Jay Beeber of the anti-camera group Safer Streets L.A. "Oftentimes, both problems exist at the same intersection."

Changing the signal timing, he said, would most likely eliminate "the vast majority of collisions at these locations."

What do you think of this idea? Would a longer yellow improve safety -- or just encourage more motorists try to speed through the intersection? Tell us your thoughts by clicking on the "comment" button above.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz and Kimi Yoshino

Photo: Some studies indicate that simple, low-cost changes to signal durations can significantly reduce accidents. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

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