On June 28, the Register reported that “Napa County Grand Jury asks city to step up traffic signal synchronization.” I read the article and was somewhat heartened that the Grand Jury has documented, albeit indirectly, some of my experiences over the past year with Napa City Intersections.
I am sure that readers will have similar issues with the intersections that I will cite and others as well:
Jefferson Street at Imola Avenue, East or West traffic: If you are in the Imola Avenue through lanes in either direction, here is what you experience: The left turn signals will illuminate in both directions and continue on for 20-plus seconds, whether or not there are any cars in the turn lanes (hence phantom cars). I can’t imagine that drivers are not baffled at the wait, that is both unnecessary and not the norm. Cars in the left turn lane turning, got it, no cars in the left turn lane, light should go yellow to red. However, not when there are phantom cars.
Gasser Drive at Hartle Court all three directions: Although there is a bit of "Phantom Cars" here as well, this is mainly about "Phantom Pedestrians." If you are unlucky, it’s possible that the 16-second pedestrian light will go on and there are only Phantoms crossing anywhere. There is every reason to have the pedestrian lights as we have the homeless shelter, movie theaters, farmers market etc. Not phantoms.
Perhaps a greater safety concern is that the many impatient motorists out there could react to these situations negatively and cause more accidents as a result.
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So if the city doesn’t act on the Grand Jury suggestion or the obvious lucidity and cogency of this letter, who you gonna call?
Please save many of us from our struggle to stay clear of curmudgeon-ville: it's a dark place.