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Laura SturzaWhile drivers might be slowed by...

Laura Sturza

While drivers might be slowed by new left-turn traffic signals along

local roads -- including Buena Vista Street, Victory Boulevard and

Olive Avenue -- the problems are expected to be fixed in about 10

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weeks.

“The primary asset [of the new signals] is safety,” Burbank

Traffic Engineer Ken Johnson said. “If we don’t have these signals,

people tend to make the left turn in front of other cars. If someone

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has been waiting a long time, they will take a little more chance.”

Burbank Police Sgt. Bruce Speirs agreed.

“We get a lot of collisions in intersections for failing to yield

to oncoming traffic when people are making left turns,” Speirs said.

While the department did not have exact figures on the number of

left-turn violations in Burbank, Sgt. Pat Lynch said drivers who

break right-of-way laws, which include failing to yield to oncoming

traffic, cause the most traffic accidents in the state.

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Installation of the $1-million project -- which includes replacing

and upgrading poles and installing new underground electrical

conduits -- started in January and is scheduled to be complete in

mid-May, Johnson said. Until the entire project is finished, the

signals aren’t synchronized from block to block, causing delays. By

June, the department expects to have the kinks out of the system.

“When we get the signals timed properly, the left-turn signals

will be much more efficient,” Johnson said.

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The nine new signals operate only when a car is in the left-turn

lane, minimizing delays if no one is turning left, Johnson said.

The bulk of the city’s traffic is carried by Hollywood Way, with

about 35,000 to 40,000 cars daily. While that street already features

left-turn arrows, Buena Vista Street and Olive Avenue -- two of

Burbank’s other major roads -- are being upgraded with the new

signals.

In the past five years, Buena Vista Street has gone from carrying

about 25,000 cars a day to 35,000, Johnson said. Other streets in

the project are Magnolia Boulevard, Alameda Avenue and Glenoaks

Boulevard.

Another benefit of the signals is that they will deter drivers

from trying to dodge long lights by driving through residential

neighborhoods, Johnson said. Left-turn signals increase the number of

cars than can make a left turn from two to about six, which

discourages people from becoming impatient and turning onto

residential streets, he said.

Reporter Ben Godar

contributed to this article.


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