Traffic, Rail Lights out of Sync at Fruitvale Avenue Crossing

Robin Seeley The railroad signal flashes red, warning mortorists of an oncoming train, while the green traffic light tells motorists it’s safe to proceed. An unwary bicyclist could obey the traffic light and ride into disaster, say riders.

At 8:17 a.m. on Feb. 25, I had my camera ready to document a frequent feature of my daily drive down Fruitvale Avenue to BART.  

As I approached the railroad tracks just west of San Leandro Avenue in Oakland, the recently installed traffic signals flanking a fancy new system of train warning lights were behaving badly.  

As you can see, both traffic signals say “Go” while the blinking red lights scream, “Stop!”

The railroad barrier has also swung down to block the road.  

It may be hard to see against the backdrop of the BART overpass in the distance, but its two small red lights are more readily visible.   

Of course, prudent people pay attention to the blinking red lights and ignore the two green signals, but that's what they did before they shut down Fruitvale Avenue last year to install these additional train track safety measures.  

The original traffic signal, also shining green and barely visible in the photo, still stands about 20 yards to the east, where San Leandro and Fruitvale avenues meet.  

Perhaps the need for new signals was prompted by concerns that distracted drivers might focus on the distant green light and ignore the railroad crossing?