Here’s a question from a reader:

Has anyone noticed the traffic signal sequences this past week?  Seems like that most of them (at least) on the west side of Santa Rosa area have been reset to the previous signal program, which is not as efficient as the one that was working for the last about 2 years, in that  it kept the traffic moving very smoothly.

Some left turn arrow/signals are now GREEN before the straight/forward GREEN, which is causing delays for people to want to get into the left turn lane but can’t and missed the green signal to turn because the straight/forward light is not green or clearing the cars/traffic first for them to get in and wait on the left turn lane. It would be nice to get some explanation or clarification from city traffic engineers why the changes. Thank you, Bill

The answer comes from Santa Rosa Traffic Engineer Rob Sprinkle, in an email on Friday:

We lost our server last Friday (March 23)  that runs our adaptive traffic control system and are working to get it back up and running. Soon hopefully.


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  1. paul

    I would love you to say your bit about a question I have. I don’t think the multi-task attention problem is the same for all types of activity and all people, and I think most of the problems stem from two primary areas,1. the old courtesy laws, like signaling, bright light dimming, safe distance driving, allowing others to pass; and 2. new cars the best brakes, tires, and airbags. People feel invinceable (sp). But even with safe driving, cell phones and texting require so much of the same consciousness as driving that the cell phone will always be a problem. Multi-tasking like eating, drinking coffee or a soda, even hair brushing doesn’t require the same type of awareness as does a conversation.

    Cops drive with all types of distracting gear and are not being hammered for that, maybe tailgating. I drove a cab stick shift in the Berkeley hills when I had to look at a map, used the radio, talked to the rider, and wrote notes, and was never as distracted as while on a cell phone. Tailgating makes it dangerously stupid.

    Why don’t the traffic police go after the tailgaters. Some are so aggressive it’s almost insane. Eve on roads where legal passing exists, no one will pass, just tailgate.

    your thoughts

    March 30th, 2012 11:14 pm

  2. West Side

    The signal light at Lance and Guerneville Rd. is the WORST. I have to wait 4 minutes sometimes because if you are crossing Guerneville, the light will not change unless someone on Guerneville gets into the left turn lanes. It’s extremely frustrating and happens even if no cross traffic is present.

    March 31st, 2012 9:58 am

  3. Elizabeth

    Who cares? It is only on the west side…

    March 31st, 2012 12:59 pm

  4. Safedriver

    I hope they can’t get the server backup working because that may mean they might actually have to go out and re-evaluate the signal light cycles. That could open some fresh eyes on how bad it has been for many years.
    There are many cities in the greater Bay Area with much more traffic but yet traffic moves much better because there signal light cycles are more efficient.
    I think the real problem is not the server, it’s the not-too-smart ones who set it up.

    March 31st, 2012 3:00 pm

  5. Brent Peterson

    I hate to say it but I hadn’t noticed that their server was down. The traffic signal program in Santa Rosa has to be the worst of anywhere that I’ve been. Many times (before the server crash on the 23rd) I’ve pulled to the light near our house and sat for three minute plus waiting for a green light with no cross traffic.

    March 31st, 2012 4:09 pm

  6. Over milked cow!

    No excuse server down for this long, i smell a traffic trap santa rosa pd is watching this area for any traffic violators reguarding these broken lights,Santa rosa should be fined not the drivers..

    March 31st, 2012 5:39 pm

  7. Dean Cooley

    My feelings are much the same as Safedriver and Brent above, I’m surprized to learn that their is a traffic server. Would it be possible to clarify with Mr. Sprinkle if the city only has one server for the entire city (and no back-up) or if the city have multiple servers?

    April 2nd, 2012 7:35 am

  8. Larry Long

    All you have to do is spend some time driving around in any other county to know that the traffic pattern, especially in Santa Rosa feels like the traffic engineers are asleep at the wheel!

    April 2nd, 2012 9:26 am

  9. Peter

    Serious cases of the “grass is always greener” syndrome here. Our traffic system is light-years above that of most other communities. Whenever I travel, I get a feeling that there’s “something wrong with the traffic signals” until I remember that we’ve got a smart computerized system here, and they don’t.

    Some people will not be happy until THEIR vehicle triggers a green signal whenever they approach, just like a fire truck. If wishes were horses…

    April 10th, 2012 2:20 pm

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