Tricky signal tests patience on Pacific – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Tricky signal tests patience on Pacific

Written March 24th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

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.

4 responses to “Tricky signal tests patience on Pacific”

  1. Chris says:

    It needs to be setup so the priority goes to the traffic on pacific. There is not as much traffic on the cross street and it is ridiculous how long the light stays green for it. Another problem is about a mile back by the Walgreens. The two signals are out of sync so as one turns green the next one turns red. Albany has the most dysfunctional traffic patterns!

  2. Hazel Siebrecht says:

    I drive Pacific to church on Sundays and Wednesday evening. Usually there is no problem on Sunday, both morning and around 4:30 in the evening, because there is very little traffic. On Wednesday evenings I have had to wait through as many as three lights with little or no traffic on Hill. I try to think it is slow traffic in the right lane on Pacific but that is not the case. It is just annoying and drivers, who are obviously aware of this problem, speed up to get into the center lane to make it through, then cut back into the right hand lane to make the Corvallis exit.

  3. Tony White says:

    And I thought it was just traffic. Or an accident. Put those lights on flashing yellow/red until they can be fixed!

  4. Joe LaBerge says:

    The inefficiency of traffic signals here in the year 2017 is truly unbelievable. I have contemplated sending the responsible party a bill for the time and fuel that has been wasted while sitting at red lights for absolutely no reason. I would not be surprised in the least to find that big oil controls our traffic signals.


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