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Traffic signal coordination helps reduce traffic times

The coordination of traffic signals along Valley Parkway between Juniper and Centre City Parkway are reducing travel times and improving the flow of traffic, according to a study conducted by the city.

According to Jule Procopio, the city engineer, “New signal timing plans were implemented and have reduced travel times by 12%-28%. This results in an average time savings of 75-hours per day for Escondido commuters.”

Supporting data can be found in a report that the city made to the Transportation and Community Safety Commission.

In November projects to coordinate signals on Centre City Parkway and the northern portion of Bear Valley Parkway (from Glenridge to East Valley Parkway) were completed.  “In addition, we are currently working to coordinate signals in West Valley Parkway and in the southern portion of Bear Valley Parkway, where we expect to begin implementation of new timing plans by the end of this year.  Coordinating traffic signals not only reduces delays, fuel consumption and emissions, it has also been shown to improve safety,” Procopio told The Times-Advocate.

This traffic signal timing coordination effort included assessments of intersection configuration, peak hour traffic conditions (AM, Midday, and PM), existing signal timing and phasing, and pedestrian and bicycle timing requirements.

Valley Parkway is a one-way street in the westbound direction and is a major thoroughfare connecting the eastern part of town to the I-15 freeway and the commercial area around there.  The six (6) signals in the Valley Parkway corridor are:

1. Juniper Street

2. N. Broadway

3. Maple Street

4. Escondido Boulevard

5. Orange Street/Signature Pavilion

6. Centre City Parkway

According to Procopio, “Turning movement counts were collected at the study intersections in May 2016 for the three peak periods.  A model was developed in SYNCHRO (version 8.0) to prepare optimized timing plans for the study intersections. The optimized timing plans were implemented and fine-tuned in the field and minor modifications were incorporated.”

The goals of this signal timing coordination project were 1) to provide traffic progression along the Valley Parkway corridor in peak periods and 2) to update the signal timings.  Some base signal timing values were updated to meet the latest CA MUTCD (The California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.)

The six study intersections were running in two separate groups of cycle length before the project.  After evaluating existing traffic volumes and timing requirements, new cycle lengths were recommended to allow for signal coordination through these intersections.  Cycle lengths at Centre City Parkway were kept unchanged to maintain signal coordination along the Centre City Parkway corridor.  Shorter cycle lengths were recommended at some intersections in order to reduce side street delay while still moving traffic on West Valley Parkway.

These updates included: 1) increasing minimum green times for bike clearance; 2) updating yellow times per latest requirements, and 3) revising pedestrian crossing times based on the 3.5 feet/second pedestrian walk speed (previous standard was 4 feet/second).

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