12/21/2014

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Yakima intersections too congested? City testing new traffic sensors

Yakima intersections too congested? City testing new traffic sensors
YAKIMA, Wash. -- You've probably been there. Sailing along in traffic, then you suddenly end up stuck at a congested intersection. It seems like the light only lets a few cars go at a time.

"The light will change but it won't change for me, it will change for the other people. So I end up sitting while the other people go through two or three times,” Tamara Alexander said.

Yakima's Roads Department says its current technology might be to blame for those problematic intersections. Right now, most of the city's traffic is operated by these cameras that sit atop traffic signals at intersections. The city tells KIMA some of the cameras are outdated and many of them just aren't efficient.

The city is testing new technology that might replace the cameras. It's a digital sensor that will be installed right into the road. A Wi-Fi signal will tell the traffic lights exactly how many cars are heading towards the light.

Carol is a Yakima driver who said she would like to see how they work on busy streets like 16th and 40th avenues.

"It takes a long time to get down those streets because you hit red light, then red light, then red light. So if they were synchronized better that would make the flow better,” Carol Stuebs said.

The new technology will actually cost taxpayers less than the current cameras. Roads crews tell KIMA the cameras cost about $16,000 per intersection. The sensors would be about half that.

The first sensor will be tested at the intersection of Nob Hill Boulevard and 32nd Avenue. If it works, the Roads Department says the city will install up to 30 more at major intersections.
Saving you time, money and frustration.

"It's always when I'm in a hurry that I'm stuck at the light,” Tamara said.

The city hopes to get the test sensor up within a month.
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