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Traffic Signal Adjustments for WLRT

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Ward 6 official website

The Ward 6 Office has received your inquires and suggestions regarding traffic light signal adjustments along 17th Avenue SW from 45th Street to Christie Park Gate as well as along Bow Trail and 7th Avenue. With the introduction of the West LRT line, you may have noticed changes to signal timing at some of the affected intersections. The traffic signals have been coordinated with the West LRT. Please view a full list of FAQs regarding traffic signal adjustments as well as intersection specific questions here:

Why does the traffic signal turn to green just before the bells and lights start, and stay green until after the gates are fully descended? I find this confusing. Should I stop or go?

This green light period is only intended to clear traffic off of the train tracks to ensure there are no obstructions in the path of the C-Train. When you see the light change to green and your vehicle is on the train tracks or in the way of an LRT gate arm, please clear the tracks for your safety. For your own safety, you should not stop on train tracks if it can be avoided. However, the track clearance interval is designed in case a vehicle is unavoidably stopped on the tracks.

At Sarcee Trail, the track clearance is particularly long because of the uphill grade – the traffic signal goes to green for at least 15 seconds before the warning devices (bells & lights) activate. This time is intended to get any vehicles that are stopped on the tracks moving just before the bells & lights. While this seems like a long time to do so, heavy trucks are slow to start on an uphill. For those intersections that have a flat grade, we normally would start the track clearance only slightly before the bells & lights.

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You may notice the lights stay green while the gates are descending and even when they are fully descended. The traffic signal is programmed to remain green for exactly 3 seconds after the gates have fully descended. This time is intended to continue to keep a vehicle moving from the tracks just after the gate descends behind it.  

Once the track clearance period has completed, the signal will serve the westbound/westbound left and then the east-west green. When the pre-emption call goes away, the signal activates the north crosswalk and therefore starts/ holds the east-west green for an additional 15 seconds. After that, the signal will cycle to whichever phases are called.

The constraints of the pre-emption and the traffic signal controller capabilities limit the efficiency gains that have been suggested. Transportation will continually monitor and endeavour to make adjustments based on observation to improve optimum efficiency where possible.


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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