Green Lights Difficult to Coordinate


Dear Traffic Talk:

I travel on Riverside Drive from Tujunga to Van Nuys Boulevard to get to work. The problem is that none of the traffic signals on Riverside is synchronized. It is rare that you can drive and make two consecutive lights. The speed limit is 35 mph, but the signals are not aligned with the speed at all. Can you please have these signals synchronized?

Also: There are signs on the freeways of Southern California that a fine of $1,000 will be issued if anyone is caught littering. I was wondering if police have ever issued a fine for littering because there is so much trash on our freeways.

Jeff Stanger, Studio City


Dear Jeff:

There is no guarantee that driving at the posted speed limit will allow you to make every green light, according to Brian Gallagher of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Traffic signals can easily be synchronized for one direction of traffic, but to provide progression in both directions, as well as intersecting cross streets, specific combinations of speed limits and the distance between signals and signal cycle times are needed.

Despite using computer models, the law of physics precludes perfect signal synchronization when traffic signals are installed at locations where the combination of speed, signal spacing and signal times are not ideal.

“A signal synchronization project for Riverside Drive has been scheduled for April, and the signal timing will be adjusted based on vehicle and arrival patterns, with preference given for the direction with the heaviest traffic flows,” Gallagher said.


As for litter, there are three parts to the section of the California Vehicle Code pertaining to litter: The first one defines it as “throwing substances on highways or adjoining areas.” This section specifies a lit or unlit cigarette, cigar, match or any flaming or glowing substance.

The second section prohibits “throwing, depositing or dumping matter on the highway.”

In 1998, the California Highway Patrol wrote seven citations, all for violations of the prohibitions in the first section, according to Wendy Moore, CHP public affairs officer.


Dear Traffic Talk:

I have observed the absence of a freeway onramp sign on westbound Foothill Boulevard in Lake View Terrace, just east of the Wheatland onramp. If someone is driving west on Foothill, parallel to the I-210, there is no onramp sign to advise the driver of the entrance to the westbound I-210. There is a sign on the eastbound side. Can this situation be corrected?

Nancy Howard, Studio City


Dear Nancy:

There should be signs in both directions, said Irwin Chodash, East Valley district engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Chodash said the department will dispatch someone to investigate the situation, and if there is no sign, it will install one.


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