Monday, September 05, 2011

The Mysterious Drake/Railroad Stoplight

This complaint is highly specific to Kalamazoo.

A year or so ago, a stoplight was installed on Drake Road where it intersect the Amtrak railroad line. Having a stoplight at a railroad is unusual unless the railroad is right next to a road intersection with traffic light, which this one is not. Usually, there is at most gates and flashing lights.

But what is really unusual is the operation of this light. Most of the time it is green, but sometimes, for no apparent reason, it turns red. There is never a train in the vicinity when this occurs. Not even one of those carts with two guys pushing up and down on a lever from the old-timey movies. After a while, it turns green again. Even stranger, sometimes only one side turns red, while the other direction continues to allow traffic to go through.

Does anyone know why this light exists and operates in this manner?

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