Kent residents and visitors, prepare for some changes to our traffic lights next month. Flashing yellow turn signals will come to nine Kent intersections as part of an upgrade to the city’s traffic signal system.

National studies show flashing yellow arrow signals improve intersection efficiency, increase safety, and are more effective at getting drivers to yield to oncoming traffic.

When there is a flashing yellow arrow, drivers can turn left after yielding to traffic and pedestrians in the crosswalk. Oncoming traffic has a green light, so those who wish to turn must wait for a gap.

Underway now, with completion by the end of January, flashing yellow arrows are being installed at the following intersections: 

  • 4th Ave. and Smith St.
  • SR167 Northbound Ramp and Willis St. 
  • SR167 Southbound Ramp and Willis St.
  • 4th Ave. and James St.
  • Central Ave. and Pioneer St.
  • 4th Ave. and Ramsay Way
  • 2nd Ave. and Smith St.
  • Showare Center and James St.
  • 4th Ave. and Cloudy St.

“We are pleased about the increased safety and additional flexibility these signals will provide in the downtown core,” says Chad Bieren, city engineer.  “It just makes sense to not have people sitting at turn signals when there’s no car coming. We’re also working on needed communication improvements so we can upgrade additional intersections in the future.”

The city applied for and received a $400,000 federal grant which covers the cost of the upgraded turn signals. 

Contributed by Michelle Wilmot, Community & Public Affairs, City of Kent