Have you ever been stuck at a red light that won’t change? If so, there are a few Denton intersections that WILL change for bicycles now. When fewer cyclists run red lights, there are fewer accidents, fewer scofflaws (which enhance negative stereotypes), and cyclists get a better sense that the system is accommodating them. In towns all over the globe, inductive loop sensors are quite often adjusted too insensitive to detect bicycles and motorcycles. That exact topic came up at last month’s Traffic Safety Commission meeting, and we hoped some improvements would come from that discussion. Now we see some shiny new camera-detectors which should detect bikes and motorcycles. These are the tall cameras sticking up from the mast, and sometimes on telephone poles. These are not red light cameras, which would have to face backwards to get photos of license plates. These cameras are our friends, and it feels so wonderful and accommodating to trigger a light on a bicycle. Get out there and try it at these intersections:
- Mulberry/Carroll: this light was legendary for not being triggered by bicycles. Additionally, the green phase was impossibly short to ride across. No more. There are video cameras for all 4 approach directions that trigger for bikes. The green phase seems longer, too. Now we don’t have to play frogger at Sycamore/Carroll or run the red light at Mulberry.
- Hickory/Welch: this intersection gets many cyclists heading to/from UNT, and the red light has been run for decades. Now you can place a bicycle wheel just over the “T” shaped intersection of inductive loop wires, preferably on the right edge of the loop, and the light will trigger. We tested this several times and were ecstatic to see it change. Hopefully the city will mark the “T” with this DOT logo that shows where to place a bicycle wheel. We’ve seen these in Austin and other cities, and they work great to get cyclists in the proper trigger area.
- Crescent/Carroll: just like the others, the signal cameras detect cyclists and change the light. Tested.
- Congress/Carroll: same here; we can see the cameras on the signal masts, but we didn’t test these.
- Sycamore/Bell: This intersection by Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and the coming A-train station has always been treacherous to cross. Blind curve + 2 lanes of cars going ~35-40mph. Now there’s a serious upgrade in progress, and we expect this intersection to get camera triggers too, especially since the Downtown Implementation plan recommends a bike route on Sycamore.