1st and Pittsburgh gets something new

The crews paint the lines with waterborne traffic paint and then put glass beads in the wet paint for retroreflectivity at night.

The City of Milwaukee painted the pavement marking to identify where to place your bicycle if you want to induce the traffic signal to change heading east on Pittsburgh at S 1st Street. This pavement marking goes along with the sign posted on the utility pole. That phase of the traffic signal is one of the few in the City of Milwaukee that is not on recall, or a timed cycle. That means the light will never turn green until there is a vehicle waiting there that induces a current in the inductive loops saw cut into the pavement. Last year I went out to the intersection and a City traffic signal technician tuned the loops to detect a bicycle. The trick is you have to put your wheels in the right spot. The new bicycle and two lines mark the saw cut where you stop your bike.

Wisconsin traffic laws now allow operators of bicycles and motorcycles to advance through an intersection when facing a red light if they believe the signal will not detect them. This is a case in which a law was written by legislators who did not consult a traffic engineer. There are many signalized intersections in the state that are on 90 second cycles, so proceeding through a red after 45 seconds makes no sense beyond the fact that people tend to be impatient.  There are even some intersections on 120 second cycles. Either way, the law is the law, and here is the exact language of the rule, follow the link below for the full statute with all references:

4. Notwithstanding subd. 1., a motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle facing a red signal at an intersection may, after stopping as required under subd. 1. for not less than 45 seconds, proceed cautiously through the intersection before the signal turns green if no other vehicles are present at the intersection to actuate the signal and the operator of the motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle reasonably believes the signal is vehicle actuated. The operator of a motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle proceeding through a red signal under this subdivision shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicular traffic, pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device proceeding through a green signal at the intersection or lawfully within a crosswalk or using the intersection. This subdivision does not affect any authorization for a bicyclist under subd. 2.

This is the first location we have used this symbol and sign.  Are you aware of another signalized intersection in the City that needs it?

I had to mark the location for the paint crews. I did it in white and it sort of messed up the clean look of the stencil. That was my bad. I didn't know the symbol was so small. I will try to go out there with some grey or black paint to touch it up a bit.

The sign on the utility pole gives instructions.


About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
This entry was posted in Advocacy, Bike facilities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to 1st and Pittsburgh gets something new

  1. Corey says:

    Cool! Great sign and pavement marking.

  2. PF says:

    THANK YOU! I noticed this on my ride in this morning. Having had trouble hitting the sensor in the past, I was looking for it this time, but it was GREAT to find this little gem waiting for me!

  3. TimK says:

    Well, that’s kind of cool. Also, please post a photo of you doing the touch-up painting. 😉

  4. Will says:

    Nice, I’ll have to test it out later today.

    What other intersections along the major bike routes arent on autopilot?

    I was under the inpression that these sensor loops would only pick up ferrous metals, do they work with alloy bikes??

  5. Bill Sell says:

    Another one: Pine and Howard

    • daveschlabowske says:

      I’ll take a look at it Bill. In the meantime, you only have to wait 45 seconds if there is no car there to induce the loop detection.

  6. bike messenger says:

    Pretty cool feature. Except you can’t be heading South on Pittsburgh at 1st St. (you can head south on 1st @ pitt)

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Oops, I blame it on the Schlitz. I meant east on Pittsburgh. Thanks for the catch. I’ll fix it.

  7. Brown and 6th is a pretty heinous intersection. I don’t know that it’s signalized (the presence of cars don’t make the light switch any faster) but my friend Sam and I usually invoke the 45 second rule (a rule which, in truth, is a painfully long and unreasonable amount of time to have to wait) on our way to the Bike Collective. Even then, the motorists behind us have to wait even longer.

    Brown is not a very busy street, so it might seem to make little sense to implement bicycle infrastructure, but in truth, Brown is a nearly ideal way of traveling westward by bike (even with bike lanes on Center, North, etc.). Little traffic, wide, smooth streets, roundabouts, few stop signs, no egregious hills, and even a large park. The biggest pain is that damn signal. That, and this pleasant street comes to an end at 14th.

    I try try to promote traveling down Brown whenever I can.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      I love riding on Brown Street. I promote it as well. You have to go around Johnsons Park, but Brown keeps heading west. I ride home that way whenever I am on the north side. I will look at that intersection too.

  8. Tosa Groupie says:

    Awesome! That’s an intersection that I will jump onto the sidewalk and push the walk button. Now I won’t have to. Thanks!

    As for another intersection, it is by the stadium travelling east on Miller Way before it becomes Canal. If you come out of the VA on the path that was once Workshop Road onto Miller Way when Miller Way first crosses the freeway onramps the light won’t trigger for a bike. With multiple on/off ramps and a slight uphill grade, it can be tough to not have a close call.

    With it being summer (well, at least spring), the Hank Aaron is an alternative so this is no longer an issue for me; in winter this is my preferred route and I have to run the light.

    • Will says:

      That signal runs really well for cars during stadium events and cycles very quickly when triggered, but I dont know what type of sensor it uses for its trigger. Also the control boxes for that one are State DOT type boxes and not City of MKE so I’m not sure who would reprogram them, if its possbile.

      Dave can city DPW access these or is it a southeast region DOT thing??

  9. Monte says:

    Just used it today. Works great!

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