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Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in General | 10 comments

Who ya gonna call?

loop detector adjustment

Adjusting the loop detector at Consolidated Services and SR 434

I mentioned in my post about last Friday’s ride to dinner that a loop detector didn’t pick us up. When I got home, I used the Metroplan Orlando Spot Improvement form to report it. The entries from that form go to Mighk Wilson. He was out of the office at the beginning of the week, but yesterday he alerted Seminole County about this issue.

IMG_0373This morning I received a call from Shad with the county engineering department. He wanted to make sure he understood the problem and corrected it. He had already made an adjustment but said he would double-check it with a bike. I offered to meet him there with a bike and he agreed. I decided to bring the LHT and a carbon fiber Roubaix. We tested both and both were detected.

Shad took the time to explain the light cycles in the area and he showed me the workings of the box. That was cool!

The loop detector will pick us up now, but it is not an instant response. The light here is on a timed cycle along with the other nearby lights on 434. So at peak traffic times, traffic at this light still may have to wait a couple minutes for a green. But traffic has to be detected at this intersection in order for it to be included in the cycle at all. As bicyclists, we often have no idea if we’re being detected. On a long cycle we sometimes have to wait several minutes just to find out that we’re not being picked up.  I’m happy to have peace of mind here, that I’m not waiting in vain.

Oh, I also mentioned to him the need for a crosswalk and button to cross 434 here. He made a note of that. There will be new light poles going in at this intersection, so hopefully a crosswalk will be included in those plans.

In my travels around the country, I’ve listened to a lot of advocates complain that their city and county engineers keep giving them reasons why they can’t make loops sensitive enough to pick up bicyclists. It always makes me feel grateful for what we have, not just in Orlando, but metro-wide. Not only are the cities and counties receptive to ensuring we are detected, we have a great asset with Metroplan. We don’t have to know whose jurisdiction a signal is in, all we have to do is put the intersection on the form and Mighk delivers the request to the right people.

It’s a bonus to get to meet the folks who make things work for us. Thank you, Shad!

IMG_0374

10 Comments

  1. I got a call from this this morning to; it seems they will be address a similar issue I’ve been experiencing at Red Bug and Dodd!!!

    • Yep! That’s where he was when he called me.

  2. Now if they just carried a stencil for the “bikes stop here” pavement marking and some white spray paint with them, they could mark the spot for bikes at the same time!

    • Agreed. He was, however, so kind as to tell me about where to stop when he was addressing my concern.

    • I mentioned to him that a stencil would help, since many cyclists don’t know they can even be detected, let alone where to stand.

  3. How coincidental! I stopped in the FL DOT construction office in Daytona Beach, to find out who manages the lights and detectors in this city. Apparently the county of volusia is responsible, so I popped off an email yesterday. Too soon for a reply, I guess, and it is a Friday.

    “Ordinary” bicycles, and I don’t mean penny farthings don’t have the horizontal real estate that the belly of my velomobile provides. I added about ten feet of medium gauge copper wire, soldered in a closed loop and secured on the underside of my velomobile. Two of the signals which had previously “ignored” me now trigger on approach. I’m hopeful that number three will be adjusted as a result of my email message.

    There’s plenty of myth generation going around the ‘net about triggering traffic signals. Magnets are specifically suggested and useless for anything except dead weight. The more accurate concept being bandied about is to lean your bike over, which is pretty much on the dot, as the closed loop of the wheel becomes an inductive reactant for the detector.

    I can’t lean my three-wheeler over too conveniently, so the copper loop hiding underneath will have to do the trick.

    It’s great that you got such a quick response, Keri.

  4. I have no trouble triggering induction signals that ignore motorcycles. I keep all the local traffic phone numbers in my cell phone just in case. Response to calls has been invariably – GREAT.

  5. Keri,

    I don’t know that we do or don’t have a similar tool here in the Tampa Bay Area, but what I do know. Is that in the past when I’ve reported lights/signals that are unresponsive to cyclists to the local bicycle/pedestrian safety coordinator in some cases I was told that’s the county’s or state.s intersection with no indication that she was going to forward the complaint. Nor having her tell me at either the county or state level I need to contact to report it.

    Also sadly, as I think I’ve mentioned she has no problems with either door zone bike lanes or bike lanes that are routed to the right of dedicated right turn lanes or combined thru/right turn lanes. Saying that they are “safe enough.”

    I think that it’s “safe enough” to say that those of us here understand the dangers of such bike lanes.

  6. Would metroplan be the ones to notify about edging the bike lane on Primrose that shrinks with all the grass growing on it and dirt from the side of the road?

    • Yes, you can do that through Metroplan.