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TRAFFIC SIGNALS

Q. Who do I contact to report a problem with a traffic signal?
A. To report a traffic signal outage during normal business hours, contact the Public Works Department at (972) 292-5800. At other times, please call the Police Department non-emergency number at (972) 292-6010.

To report a concern regarding traffic signal timing, please contact the Engineering Services Department at (972) 292-5400 and ask to speak to the engineer in charge of signal timing.

Special Cases:

SH 121 – The traffic signals along the SH 121 frontage roads are controlled by the City of Plano. Please contact the City of Plano at (972) 941-7000 to report problems or concerns.

Custer Road – The City of Frisco controls the traffic signals along Custer Road from McKinney Towne Crossing/Custer Bridges to Eldorado Parkway.  The City of McKinney controls the traffic signals along Custer Road that are north of Eldorado Parkway.  Please contact the City of McKinney at (972) 547-7559 to report problems or concerns.

Q. Why do some intersections have flashing yellow arrows? What do they mean?
A. A flashing yellow arrow means that you must wait for a gap in oncoming traffic before you turn left at a traffic signal.  The Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) left-turn display is the new nationwide standard for traffic signal operation.  All cities are required to build new traffic signals with the FYA display and to eventually upgrade their existing traffic signals to have the FYA display.  The City of Frisco is in the process of upgrading its existing traffic signals to have the FYA display, which is expected to be complete in 2015. For more detailed information and to see a video about the FYA display, go to http://www.friscotexas.gov/FYA.

Q.  Why do I have to wait so long for a green light on a side street?
A. In general, a traffic signal is programmed to provide more green time to the street that has the most traffic.  This minimizes stops and delay for the largest number of cars, which improves air quality and reduces congestion on the major roadways.  Therefore, if you are on a side street that has less traffic than the major roadway, you will wait a longer time for a green light.

In addition, traffic signals along a major roadway are coordinated with each other in order to minimize the delay for the largest possible number of cars as they move through the city.  When traffic signals are coordinated, each traffic signal must display the green indication to the primary direction of travel during a specific time period (in sequence along the road) so that the largest possible group of cars can proceed through the system with a minimum number of stops.  The side street must remain red while the coordinated flow of traffic passes through the intersection along the major roadway (sometimes in both directions).

The wait on a minor street will always be less than 3 minutes during normal traffic signal operation.

Q. Can you change the traffic signals to operate in flashing mode during the late night hours?
A. Some cities switch some of their traffic signals to the flashing mode late at night to minimize delay on their major roadways.  In this mode, traffic on the major roadway sees a flashing yellow light while traffic on the side street sees a flashing red light, which means that traffic on the major roadway never has to stop while traffic on the cross street operates like it has a stop sign. This type of operation is only beneficial if the side street has very little traffic; therefore, it does not work well at the intersection of two major roadways.

Most of the traffic signals in the City of Frisco are located at the intersection of two major roadways, so this type of flashing operation would not be beneficial.  However, the City of Frisco does change the operation of our traffic signals late at night to minimize delay.  Almost all of our traffic signals operate in “free” mode during these hours, which means that they operate independently and serve the traffic on each street as it is detected.  In this mode, a traffic signal will remain green for the major roadway most of the time and will service the cross street for a small amount of time only if a vehicle is detected.  In this way, the signal minimizes the number of times that it stops traffic on the major roadway, and it minimizes the wait time for the cross street by switching over to it almost as soon as it detects traffic on that street.

Q. How are the yellow and all-red clearance times calculated for a traffic signal?
A. Yellow time is calculated using a nationwide standardized equation based on the speed of traffic on the roadway.  The majority of Frisco’s major roadways have speed limits around 40 mph; consequently, a yellow time of about 4 seconds is used at most traffic signals.

The all-red time is also calculated using a nationwide standardized equation for a given speed.  The City of Frisco uses all-red values that range between 1 and 3 seconds, depending on the intersection width and speed.

Q: Is it necessary for me to push a button to activate the pedestrian signal?
A. Yes, pushing the pedestrian button tells the traffic signal you are there so it can provide a “walk” indication.  If you don’t activate the pedestrian signal, the traffic signal may not change or it may not provide enough time for you to cross the street.

Q. Why does the orange hand flash before I’ve completed crossing the street?
A. The white walk symbol is displayed to allow pedestrians to enter the crosswalk.  After a certain amount of time, the flashing orange upraised hand appears as a warning to pedestrians who have not yet entered the crosswalk that it is too late to begin crossing the street.  If you are already in the crosswalk, there will be enough time for you to finish crossing the street.  In fact, the flashing orange hand is usually accompanied by a number that counts down to show you how much time you have left to cross the street before the traffic signal changes.

Q. How do you decide where and when to install traffic signals?
A. The installation of traffic signals follows a nationally standardized process that is outlined in the Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD).  There is a set of criteria that must be satisfied before a traffic signal can be installed, most of which are based on traffic volumes.  Not every street can be given a traffic signal, so traffic volumes are a large factor in determining which intersections will be signalized.

In addition, traffic signals must be spaced a certain distance apart in order to function well.  The intersection of two major roadways is always assumed to be a future traffic signal location and then other potential locations must be spaced an appropriate distance away.  As other traffic signals are added at minor intersections, it further limits the possible location of additional traffic signals.

Finally, the timeframe for the installation of a traffic signal is primarily determined by the funding available to us each year.  All of the intersections that meet the necessary criteria are prioritized each year based upon the amount of traffic they serve, an analysis of the conflicting movements, and other factors.  The City then assigns the available funding to the top ranked locations.

Q. How do I request a new traffic signal?
A. Please call 972-292-5400 and ask to speak to a Traffic Engineer.  If the intersection in question is eligible for a traffic signal, it will be added to a list of locations that we monitor on an annual basis.  We will observe and collect the traffic volumes at all of these potential traffic signal locations and see if they meet the nationally standardized criteria for justifying the installation of a traffic signal.  All of the locations that meet the necessary threshold will be prioritized based on traffic volumes, conflicting movements, and other factors.  The City will then assign the funding available that year to the top ranked locations.

It is not possible to install a traffic signal at every intersection for a number of reasons, so a particular intersection may not be eligible for a traffic signal.  If it is eligible, it may take years before it reaches the top of the priority list for installation.  At any intersection, we recommend that citizens take an alternative route instead of making a maneuver that makes them uncomfortable.  Whether an uncontrolled intersection is a candidate for a traffic signal or not, it may be necessary for motorists to take an alternative route during busy times of the day instead of making a left-turn or going straight across an intersection. For example, motorists can turn right and then make a u-turn at another location.

Q. Does the City of Frisco record any of the video from its traffic cameras?
A. No, the City of Frisco does not record or retain any video from the cameras in its traffic management system. The cameras you see on top of the traffic signals are used to detect traffic for the operation of the traffic signal and to also help engineers monitor traffic flow in the city at any given moment.

 

ROADWAY CONSTRUCTION & OPERATIONS

Q. Can an intersection be changed to allow two lanes to turn right?
A. In order for two lanes to turn right, the intersection needs to have three lanes on the roadway they are turning onto. This allows for the different turn radius capabilities of various vehicles (such as trucks), as well as giving drivers more leeway in making the maneuver adjacent to another car turning right at the same time. For example, the dual right-turn at eastbound Main Street turns into three lanes on Dallas Parkway and is striped so that the right-most lane on Main Street can turn into the first or second lane of Dallas Parkway and the other right-turn lane on Main Street must turn into the third lane of Dallas Parkway. 

Q. How should bicyclists ride on the road?
A. State law generally treats a bicycle as a vehicle with the same rights and duties as a car.  State law states that a bicyclist can ride down the middle of the lane if the lane is narrower than 14 feet wide.  This is not considered “impeding traffic” even on a road with only one lane in each direction.  State law also allows bicyclists to ride two abreast in a single lane. Side by side bicyclists are considered to be impeding traffic if they take up two lanes on the roadway, but not if they take up a single lane that is narrower than 14 feet wide.  Most roads have lanes that are narrower than 14 feet, but as our major roadways are widened to six lanes, we will provide an outside lane that is 14 feet wide so that bicycles can ride to the right according to State law.  Motorists should always ensure that there is a 3-foot separation between their car and a bicyclist they are passing. 

Q. Why are some roads marked as bike routes?
A. The green “Bike Route” signs generally show bike riders which roadways are at least two lanes wide in each direction so that a car can use another lane to pass a bicycle that is in the road.  These on-street bike routes also connect to other roadways (or sidewalks) to provide interconnectivity with other portions of the off-street trail system.

Q.  When will you raise (or lower) the speed limit?  How are speed limits determined?
A.The speed limits on major roadways are not set according to any pre-determined plan. Instead, speed limits are determined based on engineering studies (a standardized process that is used nationwide). We conduct engineering speed zone studies on every major roadway in the city at least once every three years in order to see if the posted speed limits need to be adjusted. Each roadway is broken into logical segments and studied individually. These studies will sometimes result in different speed limits on different segments of the same roadway if those segments have different characteristics (such as hills, curves, or number of driveways).

State law defines the speed limit on a residential street as 30 mph and the speed limit in a residential alley as 15 mph.

Q. Can golf carts legally be driven on city streets?
A. By City Ordinance, golf carts can be driven on city streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, as long as they meet the following criteria:

·    The driver must have a valid driver’s license.

·    The driver must have insurance for the golf cart.

·    The golf cart must have headlamps, tail lamps, reflectors, and a slow-moving vehicle emblem.

·    The golf cart must have mirrors and a parking brake.

Golf carts cannot be driven on roads that have speed limits higher than 35 mph, but they can cross such roads.  Golf carts cannot be driven on sidewalks (other than golf course paths designated for golf carts).

Q.  How do I find information about upcoming or ongoing road construction projects?
A.  The Engineering Department maintains a monthly report which describes the status of our upcoming and ongoing construction projects.  Click this link to read the latest monthly report. You can also follow the City of Frisco on Facebook or Twitter (@CityOfFriscoTX) to be notified of new construction projects and road closures, or you can sign up to receive email alerts.

For highway construction projects that are not under the City’s jurisdiction (such as the Dallas North Tollway, the Sam Rayburn Tollway, or US 380), please visit the following agency websites:

· North Texas Tollway Authority (www.ntta.org)

· Texas Department of Transportation (www.txdot.gov )

Q.  How do I find out about road closures?
A.  You can follow the City of Frisco on Facebook or Twitter (@CityOfFriscoTX) to be notified of upcoming road closures, or you can sign up to receive email alerts.

You can also visit these agency websites to learn about road closures on highways in Frisco that are not under the City’s jurisdiction.  (These will also help you with your commute outside of Frisco.)

· North Texas Tollway Authority (www.ntta.org)

· Texas Department of Transportation (dfwtraffic.txdot.gov )

Q. When will the sidewalk be built between Point A and Point B?
A. Sidewalks are generally installed when development occurs along a roadway; each developer is responsible for building the stretch of sidewalk along the front of their property.  As result, there will often be gaps in the sidewalk in the more sparsely developed parts of the city.

The Engineering Department has a program that prioritizes missing pieces of sidewalk in the developed areas of the city each year and builds them according to their priority and according to the funds available.  In recent years, most of these funds have been prioritized and expended on building missing sections of sidewalks that would serve students walking to new public schools as they open.

The Parks & Recreation Department has a program that builds certain sections of its hike & bike plan each year, which sometimes adds sidewalk to some of the longer stretches of undeveloped roadway.

 

NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC

Q. Can a "children at play" sign be installed in our neighborhood?
A. The City of Frisco does not install “Children At Play” signs.  Almost every neighborhood in Frisco has a lot of children and the sign would technically need to be installed on every block of every street, which is not feasible (and would render the warning sign meaningless).  It should be an assumption of every driver on any neighborhood street or alley that children live there and they should drive defensively.

Q. Can a stop sign be installed on my residential street?
A. If you would like to request a stop sign, please call 972-292-5400 and ask to speak to a Traffic Engineer.  We will conduct a traffic study at the intersection to determine if a stop sign is warranted based on national traffic engineering standards.

Please keep in mind that the City of Frisco does not install stop signs to control vehicle speed, which is also a national traffic engineering standard.  Primarily this is because motorists subconsciously or consciously come to realize that’s the purpose of the stop sign and they begin to disregard it.  They will begin to roll through the stop sign when no traffic is present and then that diminishes the authority of all stop signs in the neighborhood.  In addition, motorists will often speed up in between these stop signs to make up the time they feel they have lost.    All of this reduces the safety of the neighborhood.  Instead, according to national traffic engineering standards, we only install stop signs when the intersection meets certain stop sign warrants based on traffic volumes, sight distance, etc.

Q. Can speed bumps be installed on my residential street?
A. The City of Frisco does not allow speed bumps/humps to be installed on any public street.  The Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Engineering Department have considered them in the past and discussed them with City Council and the City has decided not to use them.  In short, they are a hindrance to emergency vehicles, cities have been held liable for damage caused by them, they do not always have the intended effect (because some people will speed up between them), and they are very divisive within neighborhoods.  Some residents on a street will want them, but others will not, and residents of nearby streets will not want traffic diverted to their street.  Studies have shown that for the humps to be effective, several must be installed on a street at a specific distance apart, which impacts more residents and further slows down emergency vehicles (it is estimated that each hump delays emergency vehicles 10 to 15 seconds).

Q. Can parking be prohibited on my residential street?
A. Residential streets are designed to be a compromise between providing parking, allowing emergency access, and preventing traffic from driving too fast in front of homes.  Residential streets need to be narrow to discourage people from speeding in front of people’s homes, yet they need to be wide enough to allow emergency vehicles to drive past cars that are parked on the street.  It is important to note that residential streets are not intended to be wide enough to guarantee that traffic can flow in both directions at the same time.

The narrowest residential streets in Frisco are wide enough to have cars parked on both sides of the street and still provide a minimum of 10 feet between them (and more room is usually available when people have done a good job of parking).  Passenger cars are 6 feet wide and fire trucks are 8 feet wide, so each can travel between the parked cars.  Forcing cars to take turns traveling in each direction on a residential street is not considered to be a problem that needs to be corrected.  In fact, this is a natural way to slow down traffic on a residential street (which people are often worried about).

Beyond the situations described above, it is not legal to park in front of a fire hydrant or too close to a crosswalk.  If there are some cars that chronically park in these areas, we can observe the situation and post a No Parking sign if it is warranted.

Q. What can be done about speeding on my residential street?
A. According to state law, the speed limit on residential streets is 30mph whether a sign is posted or not.  Vehicle speeds are notoriously difficult for pedestrians to accurately guess, so we suggest you stand in your yard and have someone drive by at 30mph so you can see what a car driving the speed limit looks like.  If you believe traffic is going faster than 30mph on your street, you can contact the Police Department at 972-292-6164 to request that they place their radar speed trailer on your street and/or conduct a directed patrol.  You can also call 972-292-5400 and ask to speak to a Traffic Engineer and request that we conduct a speed study on your street.

The speed study will determine the actual speeds of cars throughout the day.  Depending on the results, we can install additional 30mph speed limit signs, increase the visibility of a pedestrian crossing, or we can ask the Police Department to conduct a directed patrol during times when speeding is occurring.  We can also suggest an HOA education campaign (because it is typically the residents of your neighborhood who are speeding because they are so familiar with the streets).  In rare cases where speeds are high, the City can allow the neighborhood to install and maintain a permanent radar speed board.

The City of Frisco does not install speed bumps or humps on public streets, nor do we install stop signs to control vehicle speed (see more detailed responses about these items elsewhere on this page).  The City also does not lower the speed limit on individual residential streets; instead the City maintains a consistent residential speed limit across the city and in line with state law.

Q. Can I request a lower speed limit on my residential street?
A. According to state law, the speed limit on residential streets is 30mph whether a sign is posted or not.  The City does not lower the speed limit on individual residential streets; instead the City maintains a consistent residential speed limit across the city and in line with state law.

Q. What is the speed limit in my residential alley?
A. State law defines the speed limit in residential alleys as 15 mph.

 

SCHOOL TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

Q. Who do I talk to about school attendance zone boundaries and/or school bus eligibility?
A. Cities and school districts are separate entities and the City of Frisco does not make any attendance boundary or busing decisions.  Please contact your ISD directly to discuss your specific bus questions (www.friscoisd.org or www.lisd.net or www.prosper-isd.net).  The City does work with each school district to coordinate sidewalk and roadway improvements and crossing guard locations to serve new schools.  If you have any questions about reduced speed school zones or crossing guard locations, please call
972-292-5400 and ask to speak to a Traffic Engineer.

Q. How do I request a crossing guard for a particular location?
A. If you have questions about crossing guard and/or crosswalk locations, please call 972-292-5400 and ask to speak to a Traffic Engineer.  It is important to note that crossing guards are primarily provided for elementary students.  Crossing guards are provided for middle school students only in limited circumstances and they are not provided for high school students.  However, marked crosswalks and/or reduced speed school zones can be provided at some locations even if a crossing guard is not.

The City of Frisco works with each school district to coordinate crosswalk and crossing guard locations for each school.  One or two routes are established as the recommended walking route to a school that will take students through the crosswalks and crossing guards that are provided.  These routes may not be the most direct route for all students, but it is not feasible to provide a crossing guard for every possible route to a school.  If students are not using a nearby crossing guard, parents will be asked to stress the importance of safety over convenience and instruct their children to walk to school along the route that provides the crossing guard.  (It is also important for parents to set a good example and follow the recommended walking route when they walk with their children to school.)

Q. How can traffic be improved around our school?
A. The most effective way to improve traffic around a school is to reduce the number of cars driving to the school.  If you live far from the school, consider joining a carpool or take advantage of the school bus (if available).  If you live closer to the school, consider walking.  If your child is too young to walk to school alone, consider walking with them instead of driving.  You could also join a walk-pool (also known as a “walking school bus”), where one parent walks with a group of children from different households.

 

STREET LIGHTS (ILLUMINATION)

Q. How do I report a street light that needs to be repaired?
A. The City of Frisco contracts with Oncor and CoServ to provide street lighting on public roadways. If your neighborhood is served exclusively by Oncor or CoServ, they will also maintain your street lights. Please call your electric provider directly to report a street light outage:

• CoServ: 1-800-274-4014 or www.coserv.com

• Oncor: 1-888-313-6862 or www.oncor.com

If you are not sure who your electric service provider is, do not live in an exclusive service area, or would like to report street light outages on a major roadway, please contact the City of Frisco Public Works Department during normal business hours at (972) 292-5800.

Q. How do I get another street light installed on my residential street?
A. Street lights are originally installed by developers of neighborhoods according to City standards that are dictated by our ordinances. In general, one street light should be installed at each street intersection and then additional lights should be installed at other locations along a residential street so that they are not farther than 600 feet apart nor closer than 150 feet apart.  It is important to note that street lights are not intended to illuminate the fronts of buildings; in fact they are designed not to do so (by directing the lighting downward).  They are also not intended to illuminate the entire roadway or sidewalk.  Instead, they are intended to help motorists and pedestrians navigate a neighborhood in the dark by pointing out where the intersections (and cul-de-sacs) are and, in the case of midblock lights, drawing you along the roadway towards the next intersection.

If you believe that street lights are farther apart than 600 feet in your neighborhood, please call 972-929-5400 and ask to speak to a Traffic Engineer to see if an additional light can be installed.  If the lights in your neighborhood do meet the City standards, the City will not install any additional lights.  However, the HOA can pay to have additional lights installed (as long as they meet our minimum spacing standards and the HOA acquires consent from the adjacent residents).   The cost of installing a street light is usually about $7,500 depending on the amount of boring that the power company would need to do.  Also, in some cases, home owners would need to dedicate a utility easement on their property.

Q. Why don’t all major roadways in Frisco have street lights?
A. When the City of Frisco first started developing in the 1990s, it was decided that our funding should be stretched to build as many roads as possible and so the installation of street lights was deferred to a later time.  Therefore, many of our older major roadways were built without street lights.  The City now has a program where street lights are being added to the older roadways as funding permits.  In addition, the City now installs street lights on all new major roadway projects to prevent adding to the backlog of missing street lights.

Special Case:  The City is not able to install street lights along Legacy Drive between Academy Drive and Main Street due to the presence of the electric transmission lines and the restrictions placed on the roadway by the power company.

City of Frisco, Texas
George A. Purefoy Municipal Center

6101 Frisco Square Blvd
Frisco, Texas 75034
972-292-5000
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