SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A new traffic signal was installed at the intersection of State and Yanonali streets in Santa Barbara, to eliminate what the city calls the "left turn trap."
"We've been seeing an uptick in the amount of pedestrian activity," said transportation engineer Derrick Bailey.
The signal flashes a yellow left turn arrow for southbound traffic on State Street, for drivers turning left onto Yanonali Street.
This type of signal is used in other parts of the country, but this is the first time one has been installed in the city.
According to city officials, traffic sensors will also be installed near the crossing. Those sensors will recognize when traffic is building up. The signal will automatically turn red so no other traffic can proceed. Southbound left turn traffic will continue to flow with the yellow arrow flashing. This will eliminate the left turn trap.
The signal and sensors are part of a bigger project to improve safety at the railroad crossing. City officials are working in partnership with Union Pacific Railroad and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
City officials said, "These changes are required by and funded through the CPUC, which has jurisdiction over railroad crossings in California. The State Street crossing was identified by the CPUC due to the amount of pedestrian activity and past train involved collisions."
Other features of the project include a modification of the Amtrak platform, widening the sidewalks, and installing gates across sidewalks.
The total cost of the project is 1.5 million dollars and is funded by a grant from the federal government.
The project will take a break during the summer months, then resume and be completed in the fall.