Signal light stops traffic for nonexistent cars, pedestrians, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I have noticed, on many occasions, that both traffic lights turn red on westbound Soquel Drive toward Santa Cruz at Cabrillo College will turn red when there are no cars nor pedestrians to trigger them. The eastbound lights at the same time remain green. Is there a logical reason for this? Orla Stuart, Aptos A: "The typical reasons this may occur is because a pedestrian push button may have become stuck, or there is an abundance of fog or direct sunlight which 'blinds' the cameras that detect vehicles," said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for the county. "If the pedestrian push button is stuck, it will constantly act as if a pedestrian has pushed the button. If the cameras are 'blinded' due to heavy fog then the traffic signal controller must serve all approaches even though there may not be a vehicle present. After the fog dissipates, the camera system will again function normally. If the sun is shining directly into the camera it may not function properly until the sun moves enough to not be a problem." The county contracts with a lighting contractor to perform monthly check-ups on signal lights as well as investigate problems when they occur and complaints are received, Sohriakoff said. "Our department will have this signal inspected," he said. Highway 9 closure Feb. 9 One mile of Highway 9 will close from Henry Cowell State Park in Felton to the Paradise Park Community north of Santa Cruz for a retaining wall and viaduct project starting 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 9 through late July. Expect a full 24-hour closure of the highway, though driveways and intersections, as well as access to residences and businesses will remain open. Meanwhile, the project also includes the modification of four drainage systems -- between Alba Road and Western Avenue, near San Lorenzo Avenue, and north of McGaffigan Mill. Expect one way traffic controls for about one month each 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, as well as midnight to 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays. Expect delays of up to 15 minutes. Use Highway 17 Mount Hermon or Graham Hill roads as alternate routes. Graniterock Co. of San Jose will get $2 million to complete the project. View the project map at,+CA&daddr=Vernon+St,+Santa+Cruz,+CA+95060&hl=en&ll=37.058191,-122.077332&spn=0.226307,0.527&sll=37.045039,-122.034588&sspn=0.113173,0.2635&geocode=Fap_NgIdNZC4-Cn9WNvMEU-OgDEFCwQpg0kxBA%3BFYVuNAIdoPC5-CnrFBvVS0COgDF3bpLJ3yEIBg&oq=boulder+creek&mra=ls&t=m&z=12  
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