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Traffic Signals,
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Traffic Signals, Signs and Street Lights

School Crossing

Traffic Light

Public Works operates and maintains all the traffic signals, traffic control road signs, street name signs and streetlights for city-owned intersections and roadways. When new signals, signs or streetlights are needed or requested, the City’s Engineering and Construction Division evaluates the situation, then determines the appropriate course of action. The primary objective is to maximize the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle drivers that live adjacent to and/or travel on Redwood City’s thoroughfares.

Some streets such as El Camino Real and Woodside Road that run through the city’s boundaries, are actually owned by Caltrans. These streets, as well as the 101 over-crossings are operated and maintained by Caltrans.

Traffic Signal Cycles – Timed vs. Detection

Most traffic signals can be set to a timed or detection mode. Many signals actually operate in both modes, but at different times of the day. Whether a signal is set for timed or detection, is determined by traffic flow conditions.

Timed mode is usually applied during “rush hour” to maximize the efficiency of vehicular movement through the intersection. In this mode, the signal is set to display “green” for a pre-determined period of time in each direction. In detection mode, a vehicle approaching an intersection will trigger the traffic signal controller to provide a green light for the vehicle’s direction of travel. After the vehicle has proceeded through the intersection, the signal will either remain green for that direction of travel until a vehicle from different direction triggers the detector or revert back to a "resting" phase, where the signal is green in the most traveled direction.

Walk ButtonBoth modes of traffic signal operation are affected when a pedestrian pushes the pedestrian crossing button. Pushing the button overrides the signal functions and allows a dedicated amount of time for the pedestrian to cross the intersection based on the distance across the intersection. This is usually set to a minimum of 4 feet per second.

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