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Signaling change coming to city streets

The Bellevue City Council learned Tuesday that work is progressing on the first phase of a project to improve traffic signals in the Factoria area and downtown Bellevue. The council approved installation of the new “traffic adaptive system” in June.

Once the system is installed, Bellevue will be the only city in the state utilizing traffic adaptive signals. The system will continually monitor vehicle volume in every lane approaching each intersection and automatically adjust signal timing to match traffic flows. The intent is to help reduce congestion and increase efficiency.

The most visible change for motorists will be the use of the city’s first flashing yellow arrow for left turns (and some right turns) at intersections on Factoria Boulevard, from Southeast Newport Way to Southeast 32nd Street. The new signals are scheduled to begin operation in late September or early October.

While the flashing yellow arrows may take some getting used to, the new display, recently approved by the Federal Highway Administration, is expected to increase both safety and efficiency.

Following introduction of the new signals on Factoria Boulevard, and time to make adjustments as transportation staff learn the technology, the new system is scheduled to be rolled out downtown at intersections on Bellevue Way and Northeast Fourth and Northeast Eighth streets.

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