Hey, Answer Girl,
I thought the city of Casper adopted an “energy savings plan” for the streets of Casper. At one time, the stop lights on 12th Street and similar streets flashed yellow and red in order to save energy. Now that is not the case. I see cars sitting at 12th and Walsh all the time on the weekends waiting for the lights to change. When did the city change and adopt the new procedure? -- Patrick
I turned to Pete Meyers, assistant public services director for the city, to sort out this question. He told me in an email that many of the traffic signals in Casper have always gone to flashing yellow or red in the middle of the night or at other times when traffic levels are low.
The city extended the hours signals flashed yellow or red a couple of years ago by either setting them to start flashing earlier in the evening or by having them flash longer on weekends.
"The hope was that this would save electricity, but in the end, the savings were minimal, and we did hear from many drivers who had concerns about how to react to intersections that were on flash," Meyers wrote in an email. "One common issue was that people would stop at an intersection that was flashing red, but they wouldn't know if the cross traffic had a red light or a yellow light."
So people often sat needlessly at signals because they weren't sure whether cross traffic was going to stop, and others drove through intersections at the wrong time because they thought cross traffic would stop when it didn't.
Those complications caused the city to eliminate the extended hours of flashing signals in August. Most of the intersections that started flashing at 8 or 9 p.m. were returned to the 11 p.m. setting, and most of the weekend flashing-signal settings were reduced as well, Meyers said.