UPDATE ROUND 2: Flashing Yellow Light Reactivated On Highway 33 With Explanation
The flashing yellow lights were installed in the Duluth area some time ago and I do admit that I feel a bit funny "going on yellow". The process has now expanded to the Cloquet area and has some of the residents confused. I posted this awhile back to inform motorists, then they pulled the flashing yellow light because it caused confusion and thus, accidents. I'm updating the blog for the second time with news that they've now added signage and the flashing yellow light is back on.
The flashing yellow light is at the new intersection on Highway 33 and Big Lake Road/Doddridge Avenue. Many people didn't know what to do when they see the new, flashing, yellow arrow on the traffic signals and the result was multiple crashes.
It was the decision of the MnDot to turn off the flashing yellow light because people were not yielding to the oncoming traffic. They are hoping to have new lights installed that will clearly explain the function of the the flashing yellow light. They now have new signs in place that explain that the flashing signal means proceed with caution and yield to oncoming traffic.
Here's what the flashing yellow arrow traffic signals means in a nutshell. You will see this feature in addition to the standard red, yellow and green arrows. When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows waiting motorists to make that left-hand turn AFTER YIELDING TO ONCOMING TRAFFIC. Basically, if there is no on-coming traffic, you are free to execute your left-hand turn when you see the yellow light flashing. Otherwise, the new traffic signals work the same as traditional signals.
The concept isn't new, it's actually been used in other parts of the state for five years and even longer to the south of the Northland.