There’s a Reason Why This Traffic Light is Not at An Intersection
A new traffic light installed on Forest Avenue in Portland last fall has many drivers puzzled about why it's even there. The light is unique because it is only for traffic headed east on Forest Avenue.
Since there are no other cars entering here besides light traffic on Concord Street that has a stop sign rather than a light, many drivers choose to run the light. While it seems like there is no danger in running the light, there is a very good reason its there.
Since the redesign of Woodfords Corner, traffic on Forest Avenue is flowing more smoothly than it has in years. This area has always been a bottle neck and the traffic lights help by synchronizing to regulate traffic.
This particular light was installed because of the railroad crossing.
It acts as a way to preemptively stop traffic when a train is approaching but hasn't yet activated the crossing lights and gates. Before this light was installed, traffic could be stopped near or on the tracks when the lights and gates where activated. This light stops traffic from getting in that dangerous area where they could be caught on the tracks or have a gate come down on their vehicle.
If you see this light is red, don't run it! A train is on its way.
The light will remain red after the train passes and the gates have lifted. Again, don't run it. At that point, the light turns green when the light beyond it turns green to keep traffic flowing smoothly.
It may be a little frustrating when you're in a hurry, but a red light is a red light. Don't do what I saw the three cars ahead of me do and run it. It's still against the law, it's still dangerous and you aren't helping to keep the traffic moving smoothly.