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2WTK Why Light Causes Battleground Backup at Horse Pen Creek

5:35 PM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC --  It'll take more than a horn to part the red sea of tail lights at Battleground and Horse Pen Creek Road.

"It is ridiculous," one driver yelled out the window.

The flood of parents comes in waves every morning and afternoon outside Greensboro Academy. Drivers blame bad traffic signal timing and claim it takes 10 minutes to get through.

2 Wants To Know tested it. On that day the backup on Battleground was .7 of a mile.

Drivers on Battleground got 70 seconds to pass through. Those on Horse Pen Creek had 50.  The traffic on Horse Pen Creek is light compared to Battleground, but the signal time difference is only 20 seconds.

2 Wants To Know took our findings to North Carolina Department of Transportation engineer Patti Easton. She says a computer system normally calculates the light times and constantly updates the signal based on traffic needs. But last week there was a manual override because NCDOT hadn't finished constructing the light. Pedestrian crosswalk buttons were missing, so crews gave Horse Pen Creek more time for people to walk across. The override robbed Battleground traffic of about 20 extra seconds of green light time.

"That seems like a short period of time when you're talking about it. But when you're sitting at a traffic signal, and you're looking at cars going through, that is a fair amount of time," Easton said.

NCDOT bagged up the pedestrian crossing signs and took away the manual timing override. So we timed it again. Battleground now gets 163 seconds, more than double Horse Pen Creek's 77.
A system some drivers say is light years ahead of what it was.

If there's a light like this one where you think the timing might be off, report it with a phone call. For inside the city limits call City Hall. For lights in the County, call NCDOT at 1-877-DOT-4YOU.

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