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District signals operating again

Update 5:55p.m.: Most of the traffic lights are functioning normally, according to DDOT, after it reset their electrical circuit.

Update 4:55p.m.: Eight traffic lights remain out, mostly in the northwest quadrant. DDOT spokesman John Lisle says the department doesn't yet know what caused traffic lights to go out at more than a dozen intersections at about 3:30 this afternon, but that the situation is "fairly frequent" and should be rectified by the end of the day.

No accidents as a result of the flashing lights have been reported so far, according to Lisle. DDOT is working with city police to deploy police officers, traffic controller officers and temporary stop signs to the busiest intersections to help direct traffic, he said.

DDOT is warning motorists to proceed with caution and wait for their turn. "If you come to an intersection that's normally controlled by a light and it's flashing, the thing to do is treat it as a four-way stop," Lisle said.

--Stephanie Lee

Update 4:40p.m.: More than a dozen DC intersections have malfunctioning traffic signals heading into the evening commute. Police or traffic officials will be present at some to help guide traffic; others with flashing signals will need to be treated as four-way stops, even when driving along a major thoroughfare, and commuters should expect to encounter delays near the intersections, officials said.

The outages affect multiple parts of the city, including the Capitol Hill, Benning Road and Connecticut Ave. areas. According the DDOT, the intersections are:

Benning Rd and 34th street NE
Benning Rd and Anacostia NE
Benning Rd and 17th street NE
10th and H street NE
6th and Maryland Ave NE
6th and Constitution Ave NE
15th and C street NE
7th and N street NW
13th and Florida Ave NW
21st and Conn. Ave NW
16th street and Upshur st NW
24th and Pennsylvania Ave NW

Original post: More than a dozen traffic signals at intersections across the city are flashing, rather than controlling traffic, due to a system error, the District's Department of Transportation reports.

The contractor responsible for the traffic lights has been notified, but in the meantime, be on the lookout, and remember to treat those lights as four-way stops.

By Luke Rosiak  | June 9, 2010; 4:06 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Driving  
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The Post home page is _still_ linking to the old Get There blog.

Posted by: coryanderx | June 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Hi, coranderx. We have several different versions of the page, and can't seem to locate what you are referring to. Would you send me a link to the page you see or a screenshot? My e-mail address is

Thanks. We'll try to get this fixed ASAP.

Michael Bolden
Development &
Transportation Editor

Posted by: Michael Bolden | June 9, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Update: We have discovered the page that has the linking problem and are correcting that.

Thanks for the heads up.

Michael Bolden
Development &
Transportation Editor

Posted by: Michael Bolden | June 9, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Since when does someone treat a blinking yellow as a four-way stop? The only time a signal is supposed to be treated as a four-way stop is when there are *no* lights on, blinking or not, or there are police directing traffic at the intersection.

If this region had some good sense and switched its signals to blinkers at night (instead of running them through all the phases where there's no traffic on the roads), people would know what to do when lights blink instead of phase.

Posted by: dc-nater | June 9, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The lights were also out this morning at Connecticut and L NW...(about 9am).

Posted by: ajbouche | June 9, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

You report (and DDOT repeats the mistake) that flashing traffic lights should be treated as four way stops. This is inaccurate and telling people to do so could end up getting someone injured or killed. A flashing yellow means proceed with caution (with normal yielding for turns and pedestrians) where a flashing red means stop and proceed when it is clear (essentially normal stop sign behavior).

This is true in Virginia and the District (as well as most states). For verification, see:
District 2103.6 and 2103.7
Virginia Code ยง 46.2-833

Posted by: gmubrian | June 9, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

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