PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Plano is investigating a traffic signal after a video surfaced that appeared to show a fast-moving signal at an intersection with a red-light camera installed.
Stephen Chen of Richardson was traveling on Jupiter Road when he attempted to make a left turn onto East Plano Parkway. As the light turned green, he and the other cars in line were almost immediately denied.
“Immediately, I was like whoa. Everyone in the car was like whoa,” said Chen.
As the light turned green, the Mercedes in front of Chen had not even crossed the line of the crosswalk when it suddenly turned yellow.
A few seconds go by and the signal then shifts to red with Chen and the driver ahead still in the middle of the intersection.
“I didn’t really have much of a choice other to follow through and make that turn,” said Chen.
His dash camera captured the moment and Chen saved it hoping it would clear him of any red-light tickets.
“It’s been a little while,” said Chen. “I haven’t heard anything. It hasn’t been a month, so who knows?”
No ticket has arrived in the mail, but Chen worried the next driver might not be so lucky and get slammed with a fine or by another car.
“I can see people braking suddenly because the light changes so quickly to cause a wreck with a car behind them,” said Chen.
When showed the video, Plano traffic engineer Lloyd Neal said he was unaware of the problem.
“I think it’s frustrating when a motorist experiences that,” said Neal. “First thing that comes to their mind is, ‘hey what’s going on?’”
Neal thinks the traffic sensor camera did not detect the line of cars. He suspects the signal only gave the standard three seconds of green and three seconds of yellow for one car.
Neal said wind, rain and even critters can knock the sensor off of its lane. He is now sending a team out to investigate.
“Of course everything is electronic, it can fail,” said Neal.
The City of Plano is urging anyone who notices traffic signal problems to utilize Fix-It Plano to report issues.
Plano police officer David Tilley said the red-light cameras are operated by officers in a separate division from the traffic engineers. He also said it is up to officers to use their discretion when issuing tickets depending on how close or fast the light changes.