Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Greensboro Traffic Signals Include Bells to Wake Up Sluggish Drivers After Red Light, 1925

From the Aug. 20, 1925 issue of The Landmark, Statesville, N.C.

Greensboro, Aug. 18—Beginning this morning, the bells on the traffic signals in the business district will not operate, P.C. Painter, city manager, said yesterday. “It is an experiment to see if the lack of noise from the bells will ease the public mind and also not slow down traffic.”

Mr. Painter explained that the bell was somewhat of a help to “sluggish” drivers, who drove up to the white lines on the street intersections, when the signal showed red, stopped promptly, went to sleep or indulged in deep conversations. He said that he believed that within a few days, however, these “sluggish” drivers would begin to pay attention and watch the signals instead of walking and watching the passerby.

“We are also going to change the caution light from its present duration of five seconds to two sections. At present it is delaying traffic, and I don’t believe five seconds are necessary.”

It had been suggested that the yellow signal of caution be eliminated entirely. Mr. Painter made it clear that the change and elimination of the bells was an innovation which would be given a thorough trial this week. “If it is successful, we will discontinue the bells altogether.”

He also explained that he had noticed many drivers who seemed mixed up as to the law for stopping when green light had changed to yellow. He explained that, as along as the yellow light was burning, it was all right for a driver to continue across the intersection. “The driver will have to use his discretion as to whether he can go safely across.” He said that he felt that if the driver was at or within a very few feet of the white lines when the green changed to yellow, he should go on across. Drivers stopped at an intersection on a red signal must wait till the green signal actually comes on before going forward.

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