Dear Street Smarts,
Q:I’m writing concerning the sequencing of the traffic signal at the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Larkin Valley Road/Westgate Drive. If the current operation of the signal is an experiment, my vote is that it is a complete failure. The cross traffic approaching Airport Boulevard from Larkin Valley and Westgate no longer have a green light at the same time. This causes a lot of confusion for drivers, especially on the Larkin Valley side.
What I have observed is the southbound traffic on Larkin Valley seems to get preference at this light and most of the traffic there is turning left onto Airport. With only their light green, drivers will sometimes wait there because they are expecting the northbound traffic from Westgate to have a green light also, which would be normal. When they realize that the opposing traffic is not entering the intersection, they will proceed to turn left. After a number of cars have started moving, all turning left, the Westgate traffic gets a green light. Now, is when the glares and blank stares start. All of a sudden, the southbound traffic turning left no longer has total control of the intersection.
I have had people verbally assault me when I try to drive through the intersection to either get on the northbound Highway 1 ramp or continue on Larkin Valley Road. This truly is an accident waiting to happen. A favored green light without an accompanying green arrow does not work.
Thanks for the forum,
Don Rankin, Watsonville
A: Watsonville officials thank you for the head’s up about this problem. The way the signal lights were operating was neither an experiment, nor intentional.
“The intersection timing was indeed different than what is normally programmed,” said Maria Esther Rodriguez of the city’s public works department. “The intersection has been reset and should be back to normal now. We’ll keep an eye on it to make sure it continues in its correct timing.”