New flashing yellow arrows replace green 'ball' signal
Motorists in southwest Idaho are noticing a new light guiding their way through intersections. ITD has introduced a new Flashing Yellow Arrow (FLA) at a few intersections, like those cropping up in eastern Oregon and elsewhere across the country.
The newest flashing arrow is planned for a traffic signal at the intersection of 3rd and American Legion Boulevard in Mountain Home. The flashing yellow arrow means, "proceed with caution and yield to oncoming traffic."
The signal has four phases:
1. Green arrow represents a protected turn
2. Flashing yellow - proceed with caution and yield to oncoming traffic
3. Solid Yellow prepare to stop
4. Solid Red - stop
The FLA will replace the permissive green “ball” traditionally used in traffic signal configurations. Flashing yellow arrows indicate a permissive move for drivers turning left; they can make a left turn but must yield to oncoming traffic. If the signal detects that vehicles are not moving through the left-turn lane, a solid green arrow phase will follow, providing protected left-turn movements.
The FYA signal is more efficient and improves safety. The signal also saves on motorists' fuel and time at the intersection.
Historically, the green ball governing left turns has led some motorists to wrongly think they have a protected turning movement. In contrast, highway users seem to intuitively know the flashing yellow is communicating the need for caution in the turn.
The FYA signal will be similar to signals currently in use in the Nampa/Caldwell area in Canyon County, which has implemented the new FYA signals in several locations since the middle of 2004.
Canyon County FYA signals are being used at the following locations:
Karcher Mall - Lowe's on Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard (I-84B)
K-Mart/ShopKo on Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard
Interstate 84, Exit 28 in Caldwell
The FYA light also is used at two other small local roads in Nampa: