By Bob Geiger
Dolan Media Newswires
Minneapolis — In an effort to ease traffic congestion on Minnesota roadways, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is rolling out solid and flashing yellow arrow turn signals, which let drivers make left turns after yielding to oncoming traffic.
Solid yellow arrows signal drivers to prepare to stop before making left-hand turns, while flashing yellow arrows allow drivers to turn after checking for oncoming traffic.
The first sign was installed near TCF Stadium, adjacent to the University of Minnesota campus. Several suburban cities also have followed suit, and Hennepin County plans to install the signals at two intersections by mid-September.
Greg Chock, manager of the traffic division of Hennepin County’s Transportation Department, said the flashing yellow arrows will replace green left-turn arrows at the new lights, and are designed to warn drivers that oncoming traffic will not stop for them.
“The hope is that there is more clarity to the situation,” Chock said.
The first traffic light featuring the flashing yellow signal is at Oak Street and University Avenue near the University of Minnesota.
The next two signs featuring flashing yellow signals will be erected at County Road 5 and Toledo Avenue in St. Louis Park and at County Road 9 and Nevada Avenue in New Hope, Chock said.
In the past, flashing yellow displays were used only when all stop sign signals were in flash mode.
The new flashing yellow arrow signs, approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration, are designed to operate during periods of low traffic volume and slow traffic.
Eric Drager, traffic operations engineer for Hennepin County, said some people called and said the signs were confusing. But research indicates that the signs effectively attract drivers’ attention and heighten their awareness, Drager said.