Greater City Providence

Traffic Light, WTF!

No, that traffic is not running the red, the light is green and the walk light crossing the traffic with the green light is also on.

Our reader says they reported this to the City a week ago, but it has not been fixed.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Kind of off-topic, but I reported that a burst water pipe has created a mini-geyser on South Street three years ago. It’s still spouting! The permanent puddle is about 150 feet long now, and it reaches the Providence River.

    There are ‘leaks’ popping up all over the city. It’s good because they match the sand-filled catch-basins.

    But hey, at least the city painted some cool whales in the Eddy Street underpass, they totally have their priorities straight.


  • There was a geyser on Atwells for about a week or so. Someone either fixed it or the water found a different direction to flow.

  • Recall that some months ago, Channel 12 reported that the public works department’s “fiscal adviser” (translated: no–show political employee) took two sets of city traffic lights to a friend’s nightclub for use as decorations. He had someone at public works re-wire one of the traffic light sets for use in the club. That may be why public works seems not to have the time, interest, or equipment to fix this traffic signal. No doubt that so-called “fiscal adviser” is still on the job without having been disciplined at all.

  • I once worked with someone whose job it was prior to program the traffic lights in the city. Those lights on Canal and Steeple are the older, non ITS style lights. They’ve probably jumped a cam. If need be we can pick the lock on the cabinet and fix it ourselves.

  • “…They’ve probably jumped a cam.”

    Wait… Really? Like a physical bump on a rotating bar? The technology for wireless synchronized traffic signals has been around for at least fifteen years.

    This would explain the completely random timings of major thoroughfares like Benefit/Angell/Waterman, Broad, and North Main. It’s not incompetence or malice, it’s utter lack of investment, with a healthy dose of fear of change.

  • Mangeek – yeah. A lot of lights in the city are still based on electro-mechanical timing The ITS style don’t all have RF. A few nearby do but they also have traffic loops etc. So those really don’t need programming per se except initial setup and perhaps a little variance for traffic conditions.

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