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Has the red in traffic signals changed?

Matmail:

I've noticed lately that something is different with the red lights used in our street signals. Instead of a nice uniform glow (like the yellow and green), the red seems to emit its light in spots. Why?

-- Seeing Red in Rancho Bernardo

The elves are feeling like roadkill these days. Is San Diego one endless drivathon? Maybe you just have more time to ponder life when you're behind the wheel. Why is the sky blue? Who splattered all that paint on the freeway? If an SUV dematerializes on a deserted off-ramp, does anyone care? If I order a pizza on my cell phone, will they deliver it through the open window of my moving car? Hey, step on it, meathead! Well, I guess that's not a question.

We've received this same question from several of you out there so I guess it's burning a hole in the collective psyche. As the city traffic department tells it, they're in the process of replacing the old lights (light bulb, reflective backing, red lens) with red LED lenses (light-emitting-diode lenses). When the project is done, they say, we'll save maybe half a million on the civic electricity bill. Diodes require much less current than the bulbs. The old-style signals have only a single-point light source; the diode lenses emit light from across the whole surface, making the honeycomb design of the lens easier to see. When and if the technology for green and yellow LED lenses becomes affordable, they'll likely be replaced too. So, one less thing to think about while you sit at an intersection.


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Matmail:

I've noticed lately that something is different with the red lights used in our street signals. Instead of a nice uniform glow (like the yellow and green), the red seems to emit its light in spots. Why?

-- Seeing Red in Rancho Bernardo

The elves are feeling like roadkill these days. Is San Diego one endless drivathon? Maybe you just have more time to ponder life when you're behind the wheel. Why is the sky blue? Who splattered all that paint on the freeway? If an SUV dematerializes on a deserted off-ramp, does anyone care? If I order a pizza on my cell phone, will they deliver it through the open window of my moving car? Hey, step on it, meathead! Well, I guess that's not a question.

We've received this same question from several of you out there so I guess it's burning a hole in the collective psyche. As the city traffic department tells it, they're in the process of replacing the old lights (light bulb, reflective backing, red lens) with red LED lenses (light-emitting-diode lenses). When the project is done, they say, we'll save maybe half a million on the civic electricity bill. Diodes require much less current than the bulbs. The old-style signals have only a single-point light source; the diode lenses emit light from across the whole surface, making the honeycomb design of the lens easier to see. When and if the technology for green and yellow LED lenses becomes affordable, they'll likely be replaced too. So, one less thing to think about while you sit at an intersection.


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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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