New Traffic Signal Will Be Operational at UMass Amherst Feb. 3

AMHERST, Mass. - A new traffic signal will become operational Thurs. Feb. 3 at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue, Governors Drive, and Holdsworth Way on the campus of the University of Massachusetts.

The new signal will display the standard green, yellow, and red-light sequence, and will also include temporary pedestrian crossing signals that will allow pedestrians to stop traffic in all directions in order to cross the intersection safely. The signal formerly displayed a blinking yellow or red light, depending on the direction of travel.

Jason Venditti, a civil engineer for facilities planning, said the new signals will eventually have countdown timers that indicate to pedestrians how many seconds they have to cross the street. "This system has been used successfully in Boulder, Colo., where vehicle/pedestrian traffic is similar to that at UMass," says Venditti. The new system, which he expects will be installed by the end of the month, will also have a lighted digital display on the pedestrian push buttons that tells users the signals have been activated.

Venditti says nearby signs should help alert motorists to the new signal.

Further improvements will be made to the intersection once weather conditions improve in the spring. Venditti says the additional work includes installing new pavement and changing the activation of the signals from a pre-timed sequence to one that occurs as vehicles approach.