QUESTION: I’m in sales. I travel back and forth throughout the city daily. It’s very difficult to get past the traffic signal at Sherwood Forest Boulevard and North Harrell’s Ferry Road, specifically heading south on Sherwood Forest, without getting trapped by the quick yellow to red timing change. I don’t seem to have this issue on the north side or at most other traffic lights. One other difficult intersection is Old Hammond and Airline. This is a very long/deep intersection because of the distance crossing Airline, and if the light goes to yellow while starting across the intersection you are sure to get a red light before you can make it across especially in heavy traffic. I think the yellow to red timing should be extended 5 extra seconds at both these lights.

It should be noted that both these intersections are patrolled by red light cameras. I’d be interested to know how many people have been ticketed unfairly at these intersections.

ANSWER: Ouch! Don’t you just hate getting those tickets?

We touched base with Ingolf A. Partenheimer, the city-parish’s chief traffic engineer, who in his answer below discusses the mechanics of the traffic signal timing and the mechanics of the red-light camera law:

“With regard to the traffic signal timing (specifically the clearances) at Sherwood Forest at North Harrell’s Ferry, all of the traffic signal clearances are based on the width of the intersection and the speed of the vehicle. It’s the same formula used throughout the state and on every traffic signal in Baton Rouge controlled by the city-parish. The traffic signal controller can only change the amount of green time not the yellow or the all red time, which follows the yellow. Both northbound and southbound have the same amount of clearance time.”

As for those dreaded red-light cameras, Partenheimer says: “Under the old law, a vehicle being in the intersection when the traffic signal turned red was ticket-able. Under the new law, a vehicle entering the intersection on a red is ticket-able. It is important to note that a red light running camera does not show you as a violation if you are in the intersection when it turns red. It only shows it as a violation if you cross the stop bar and enter the intersection after the red indication has illuminated.”

We hope this helps. Drive safely!

Anchors a-weigh?

QUESTION: Why do 18-wheelers pulling flat-bed trailers, or no trailer at all, still have to stop at weigh stations?

ANSWER: We consulted Louisiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Nick Manale, who consulted a trooper in the agency’s Transportation Safety Services section. Here’s what they say: “The requirement for a commercial motor vehicle (18-wheelers) to stop at a weigh station depends on the actual weigh station itself. Numerous weigh stations have had Weigh In Motion (WIM) sensors installed and can estimate a truck’s weight to determine if the truck can bypass the scales or require it to report in for a more accurate weight reading. Scales that are not WIM scales require all CMVs that are rated 1 ton or above report in to be weighed.”

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Send questions to Ask The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email