Editor’s note: The What’s Your Question? column runs occasionally answering inquiries from readers.
Q: I frequently use the left-turn lane from East Clairemont Avenue onto North Rudolph Road, but I can’t figure out the left-turn arrow. Sometimes it stays red, other times I get the flashing-yellow arrow, and sometimes I get the green arrow. I sometimes think the person who operates this light is behind a tree laughing at me as I fume. Can anyone shed any light on this mystery?
Answer by Stacey Rusch, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northwest Region operations supervisor:
Before 2016, left turns from Clairemont Avenue were only allowed on a green arrow when all opposing traffic had a red light. While this was necessary when traffic was heavy, it resulted in many times during the day when a driver could not legally make a left turn even though there was a sufficient gap in oncoming traffic.
In 2016, the traffic signals along Clairemont Avenue (U.S. 12) in Eau Claire were upgraded with new technology to improve the traffic flow. The new technology allows for “variable left-turn phasing” for left turns from Clairemont Avenue. This means the left-turn signal indications will vary throughout the day and by intersection.
This change has allowed more flexibility for traffic to make left turns without having to wait for a green arrow.
Left on green arrow will remain as the most common left-turn indicator at most Clairemont intersections during the higher-volume hours. During some lower-volume daytime hours and overnight, some intersections may allow a flashing yellow left arrow preceding, following or without a left-turn green arrow.
Drivers should be prepared to see flashing yellow arrow indications and yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before turning left.
Q: Someone told me that schools don’t spend as much to buy and clean towels as they once did because more students opt not to shower after gym class, and that athletes often go home to shower after practices and even games. Is that true?
Answer by Michael Pernsteiner, North High School athletic director and assistant principal:
Every school handles things a little differently. Some still provide and launder towels for students for use after phy. ed classes and athletics. Others contract with commercial laundry services to do this instead of doing it in-house.
I believe it’s been many years since we provided and laundered towels for students in Eau Claire. Many athletes still shower after practices and games but usually prefer to bring towels from home. There are many contributing factors for phy. ed. Classes put greater emphasis on health and wellness, and therefore have shifted to focusing on lifetime activities. Students still have an opportunity to shower after classes, but those who do provide their own towels.
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