Tricky signal tests patience on Pacific

Pacific Boulevard traffic stacks up Friday evening, waiting for one of the brief green-light phases at Hill Street.

What's the deal with the Hill Street traffic signal on Pacific Boulevard? Sometimes this signal on one of Albany's busiest streets seems to delight in teasing drivers by giving them a green light for only a few seconds at a time. And when traffic is heavy, it may take three or more phases to get through.

I'm not the only one who has noticed this -- obviously, considering the long queues of vehicles waiting to get through this intersection on the west-bound leg of the Pacific-Ninth couplet of Highway 20. Councilman Rich Kellum has noticed it too, and he brought it up at a recent meeting of the city council.

When he did, the consensus seemed to be that there was some malfunction in the sensors or the other equipment of the signal. Looking after the signals on this state highway is ODOT's job, and the city staff was going to get in touch with the agency to see what could be done. But if the light was fixed, the fix didn't last.

The signal has been playing its tricks for a long time, not all the time but off and on. And as motorists discovered in the rain on Friday evening, the problem is still there: Long waits, a few seconds of green, then yellow and red again even though there's no cross traffic in sight.

Among life's aggravations, it's a very little thing, sure. But annoying nevertheless, especially when you've cut it kind of close and are trying to get somewhere by a specific time. (hh)

Almost made it this time. But no, not yet.

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