Caltrans has established new rules for setting yellow-light times for red-light cameras around Los Angeles County.
The new ordinance requires yellow-light times to be set according to the actual speed of traffic and not what the posted speed limit says.
“Santa Clarita has had a policy for the last 10 years for being above the minimum Caltrans Uniform Traffic Control Devices Manual-required time of 3 seconds,” said Mark Hunter, a city transportation planning analyst. “The updated manual will only affect us a little, mostly having to do with left-turn lanes through intersections.”
Santa Clarita hired an independent consultant last February to sample left turns at 15 to 20 intersections to see if distances fit well with the allotted time the yellow light gives drivers to get through an intersection.
“Right now, extended yellow time is 3.5 seconds for the majority of protected left turns, and we did increase a few to 4 seconds to see what effect it would have,” Hunter said.
The intersections tested are Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road, Newhall Ranch Road and Mcbean Parkway, and Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road.
The McBean-Valencia intersection was also increased 1 full second from 3.5 to 4.5 seconds.
Early results of the test show a decrease of 70 percent in generated tickets, and the city lost $8,000 due to tests on yellow-light times, Hunter said.
The private consultant should be finished with its report and have official results next month.
Since the cameras were installed, the yearly average of broadside crashes are down 60 percent, injuries related to crashes are down 10 percent, and there have been no fatal collisions in any of the intersections since installation.
There are currently seven red light cameras in the city at the intersections of Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village Road, McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, McBean and Magic Mountain Parkway, McBean and Newhall Ranch Road, Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road, Bouquet and Seco Canyon Road, and Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road.
“The city is still above the minimum, but we are trying to be more proactive, and if there is anything we can do to enhance safety, we will do that,” Hunter said.