Human street light signals

Today I observed a very interesting, new event – for me – on route 50 (Lee Jackson Hwy) in Fairfax County, Virginia. The signal lights were out. About a dozen people wearing dark uniforms and orange vests ran out to the intersection and directed traffic. This is a major intersection near route 28. The human signals did an incredible job because there were lines of traffic building up. Amazing! I was impressed. But I don’t know how they kept cool. It was about 95 degrees F. :cool:

Does this thread have 0 replies because of the absurdity that directing traffic is a “very interesting, new event”, or am I the only one?

There is the qualifier, “for me”…maybe the lights have never gone out where she lives.

When I read the title, I sort of imagined people with red lights stuck in their mouths, with green lights sticking out of their ears. Every now and then they’d turn ninety degrees to let the traffic in the other direction go.

Why would it take a dozen people to direct traffic? Must be one major intersection…

Violet, have you really, seriously never seen people directing traffic? I also live in Fairfax County, and I’ve seen on numerous occasions police officers directing traffic at signals that have gone out.

These would be police officers, yes? Glad you enjoyed it.

Hey, you were right by my house :slight_smile:

If the lights went out at the intersection of Rte 2 (fresh Pond Parkway) and Rte 16 (Alewife Brook Parkway) near my house (Cambridge MA) it would definitely take that many officers to direct traffic. What a mess!!!

I can think of a couple of other intersections around here that might require a bunch of directors.
Like Coolidge Corner, where Beacon St meets Harvard St meets the C Line.

Or where Harvard St meets the B Line meets Comm Ave (along with its auxiliary local travel/parking lanes). Ugh - I don’t like that intersection when the lights are working.

I grew up on the west coast… You lose traffic lights and it becomes like a 3rd world country at that intersection.

Rotting corpses, burned out wrecks of vehicles… Small children scrounging for food.

Wait a second I’m confusing this with Mad Max

Hrrm actually everyone knows that its a 4 way stop sign then the lights stop working so you don’t NEED THE FREAKING POLICE!

Actually, CRorex, I’m afraid everyone DOESN’T know that. (they should, but…)

Our traffic reporters actually remind us of that fact when they report that a major intersection light is out.

Like CalMeacham, I too was expecting something perhaps avant-garde.

I had an amusing idea with luciferase and GFP (two proteins that you can make glow) along with my idea for the glowing genital virus :slight_smile:

GFP (Green fluresent protein) makes one side of you glow, turn around and the other side glows a different colour.

Its like playing redlight-greenlight only without pants!

Hey, it’d keep people employed, although in winter the mortality rate of human traffic lights would be kinda high :confused:

But I think most importantly it would create more jobs and that would stimulate the economy!

At the intersections I mentioned, that would be the equivalent of a 6 - 10 way stop sign. With not all the incoming lanes able to see the other incoming lanes.

Aint no way THAT’s gonna work! :smiley:

Here’s what the intersection looks like on Yahoo Maps.
And the ones that look like they’d be yield-sign intersections? Nope - they’re stop or you’ll be killed intersections.
All controlled by a complex sequence of lights.

http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=Tmap&addr=route+2+and+Route+16&city=Cambridge&state=MA&slt=42.374470&sln=-71.105759&mlt=42.397930&mln=-71.141957&name=&zip=&country=us&BFKey=&BFCat=&BFClient=&mag=8&desc=&cs=8&newmag=10&poititle=&poi=&ds=n

It’s nice to think that human beings could play nice and take turns, but when the lights go out at the next intersection north of there, within about 15 minutes we get gridlock, and that’s only a 4-way intersection. And people wonder why I don’t want to drive in this town! :rolleyes:

Never expected any posts. It looked like a large drill team! I usually see 1 person get out there (in other parts of the U.S.), sometimes with white gloves on. But this was a big ass operation. I’m not from this area. Northern VA is different. Beautiful scenery. Traffic can be strenuous. I heard power was out in Fairfax this morning. Maybe too many air conditioners on. Could be why the lights were out.

Driving around metro DC is an experience – at least for me. :wink: