Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Traffic Signals + New Here! (introduction) Previous Next
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Detroit_signal
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Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 10:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi everyone!

I've been lurking around for awhile and reading threads here and there and I just want to say how much I enjoy reading what everyone has to say about Detroit. Love the different angles and opinions about everything from politics and sports to city development. I never lived in the city limits (grew up in Warren) but love to read and research historical facts and pictures of the city. I'm in my mid 20s so I have a limited recollection of any time I spent in Detroit before I was 13 or 14. I hope that I have good stuff to contribute in this forum and look forward to talking about old and new Detroit with all of you.

Anyway... for my first discussion I would like to mention that I have an interest in collecting (legally) traffic signals, signs and taking pictures of any classic street lamps and traffic signals that are left in the city from the old days. The old signals seem to be disappearing or are being replaced with modern systems to accomodate current code. I have a few questions for some of you who may remember the old lights:

1. When did signals first get painted yellow ?
2. Were signals originally dark green or black?
3. Are there any signals left in the city that are not painted yellow or were forgotten?
4. Does anyone remember when "fixed" 4-way signals were phased out - fixed 4 way meaning that all 4 directions are contained in one housing

Thanks in advance and go Tigers!!!!

JOE C.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1838
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome to the Forum Detroit_Signal.
From what I was told by my dad, the yellow signals are owned by the County/State and the green ones are owned by the city. This may have changed at some point but I don't know.
Maybe Ray1936 can chime in on this.
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Nellonfury
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Username: Nellonfury

Post Number: 221
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's good to have new members on this site.
Welcome Detroit_signal!!!!
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Blueidone
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Username: Blueidone

Post Number: 46
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What a coincidence! My husband just asked today if I would ask if there were still any signals in the City on the corner poles instead of hanging over the intersection. Could someone answer that while we're on the subject?
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Blueidone,

If he means signals on short 7 foot poles at each corner and nothing overhead, no. If he means the old-style mast-mounted overhead signals, then yes. Those are the ones I photograph.

JOE C.
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is a picture I took of a circa late 40s/early 50s Marblelite signal on Dexter Avenue.

<img>
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Bulletmagnet
Member
Username: Bulletmagnet

Post Number: 337
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome Detroit_signal. I will look through my archive for photos of the old green single you mentioned. Most, if not all, traffic control signals in Detroit are high-vis yellow. And many dont work, but no matter, drivers run them any way!
http://farm1.static.flickr.com /227/444089510_3cc93bc50e_b.jp g
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

or not.... hang on
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 6
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bulletmagnet-

Forest and St. Aubin is that one????
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Blueidone
Member
Username: Blueidone

Post Number: 47
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Signal..yes, he meant the ones on the 7 foot poles. Thanks for the reply. I am a relative newbie here too and love learning more about all aspects of our area as well.
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 7
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dexter Avenue signal take 2.....


Dexter Ave signal
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Psip
Member
Username: Psip

Post Number: 1839
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Posting pictures here can be a bit of a trick.
1, it can be no larger than 550 pixels either H or V
2, it can be no larger then 50K in size.

A free program to change these parameters is:
http://www.irfanview.com

its a little tricky to use, open the pix you want to modify, go to Image, Size and set the largest number to 550. Then SaveAs, (somewhere in that you can set the max size of the file, set to 40K) Save as a jpg.

Good luck
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 8
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks everyone!!

One more pic and I'm goin to watch the baseball game. Be back in a couple days!


E GRAND PALMER SIG


JOE C.
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48202
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Username: 48202

Post Number: 33
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome Detroit_signal.

A few weeks ago, I saw a crew replace signals at a certain intersection here in 48202. They left the old ones lying in the grass, where they remained for a week until they disappeared.

If you had introduced yourself a week earlier, they could have been yours.
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 9
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 12:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks 48202.

If I bring one more signal home my girlfriend will hurt me, LOL!!

Here is a pic of a 1940s Detroit style 4-way I restored.


4way
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Lowell
Board Administrator
Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3822
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 1:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome to the forum Detroit Signal.

I added to your title line because you started an interesting topic.
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Whithorn11446
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Username: Whithorn11446

Post Number: 61
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 1:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The intersection of Schoenherr and Greiner had the black turn signal until 1986 or 1987. It may have been one of the last ones on the east side.
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 10
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 8:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Lowell!

Whithorn - I think I may have a picture of that one somewhere. I'll have to dig it up.

Off to work now, be back in a couple days!

JOE C.
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Ray1936
Member
Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1357
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 12:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Can't recall the conversion from the green signal heads to yellow, but I can recall they were all dark-colored back in the forties. Major streets like Grand River had overhead signals for as long as I can remember, but secondary intersections (Meyers and Schoolcraft comes to mind) had the pole-mounted heads on the corners.

Couple of years ago on a genealogy trip, I found myself in the little burg of Anthony, Kansas. They have one signalized intersection in town, and they are two heads on poles on the corners. Man, is it easy to miss them! Every time I drove down the main drag I liked to blow that light. But rural Kansas is still back in the dark ages anyway.

Of course, us old-timers can recall when stop signs were yellow instead of red.

Detroit signal....those are GREAT photos, and that restored 1940 head is an absolute gem!
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Detroitgalaxian
Member
Username: Detroitgalaxian

Post Number: 2
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 1:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Joe -
As far as your question #3:
These are all of the remaining intersections that I know of which have signals that are not yellow...
(I get the feeling that you probably already know about all of these.)

---- McGraw near Warren

---- Buchanan and Vinewood (near W. Grand Blvd.)

---- Tireman/Littlefield/Esper

---- Schoenherr and Greiner (i didn't know about this one until you posted a photo of it elsewhere a few months back)


Here are all of the recently retired non-yellow signals that I know about:


---- Lodge Service Drive + Temple. There were 2 mast-guywire-arm clusters visible from the lodge freeway. These were taken town in 2000 when Motor City Casio went in.

---- Linwood/Dexter/GrandBlvd/David son area. (Sorry, I don't remember the location) There was an intersection with 2 clusters. I'm pretty sure it's gone now as of about 2 years ago.

---- Grand Circus Park at the 2 parking garage exits. (1 of which you brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago.) These disappeared a couple of years ago.


And then of course, there is still a scattering of brown signals in the central business district. I think those were put up in the late 70's or early 80's.


Ryan K

(Hi Joe!)
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Busterwmu
Member
Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 379
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 2:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Central between Michigan Ave and John Kronk has at least one non-yellow signal I believe. Also, to further clarify galaxin's location of the McGraw/Warren signal, it's actually at Junction and McGraw. Littlefield/Esper/Tireman has some great looking pole mounted green signals!
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Bulletmagnet
Member
Username: Bulletmagnet

Post Number: 343
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 11:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit_signal, you got the location of my pic correct. I took that shot to illustrate the non working or broken traffic control signals around town. I too have noticed the disappearance of the old green fixtures. I am glad that you found this topic interesting enough to start a thread. Have you had the time to photograph all of the lights around town? I would like to see them, or maybe you could do a 'Light of The Week' or something like it. Any one who takes the trouble to find interest in the mundane is ok with me, so keep up the good work, and please post them, if you got them.
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Busterwmu
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 382
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 11:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My friend Michael, a long time transportation and traffic signal enthusiast, wished for me to post these notes and photos on his behalf. Hope you enjoy!

First of all, the one was on Casper near Central a block south of Michigan Ave. was replaced just last week, it was in fact a green signal well over 40 years old. Other green signals remain at Tireman and Littlefield, Buchanan, McGraw, and Junction.

Crouse Hindz Type D Beacons reside in the nearby cities of Hazel Park and Ferndale Circa 1945-1952. All had their original lenses replaced in 2004, but remain Bulb lit with the original art deco crouse hinds controllers. Specific Locations: Cambourne and Bermuda (Off of Woodward), Woodward Heights near the Railroad Tracks and Dequinder, and one on NINE MILE just west of Woodward has NO VISORS on it. All of these 4 ways were originally GREEN.

4 way beacon


Classic Eagle Lux Signals Guard the way along WOODWARD HEIGHTS in Oakland County. Signals are at I-75 and Woodward Heights, as well as several other locations on that road. Scalloped visors are mainstay on the green lenses facing all directions.

oakland county


Hamtramck is host to this ancient signal with the Big Red added, at Woodward and Caniff or somewhere in that area. Adjacent to the classic Big Red Hamtramck signal, watch out for this GREEN SMILEY LENS hiding out to the left side of the road (Westbound).

big red


smiley


An old kopp glass "Walk" command lens on a vintage traffic signal in Detroit, MI at 14th Street and Calvert. It is on 14th Street, which is one way, opposing traffic, not too far from the Lodge Freeway. It is visible in this great nighttime movie on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27td4HvmmLw

The Chrysler plant off of Sherwood in Detroit near 8 Mile has Crouse Hinds Type-D 3 way signals on plant property visible from Sherwood, painted both green and blue. Also around Detroit but in another neighborhood, there is a black Marbelite at Dearborn Ave at Jefferson (Delray Neighborhood), and a Marbelite at the Buchanan and McGraw area, kittycorner to St. Francis church.

Additionally, farther from our Detroit region, Michigan Four-ways include a Crouse Hinds Type-M at Croswell, MI, a Sargent Sowell at Tawas at Newmann St., and Twin Eagle 4 ways at Holly, MI.

He says that yellow signals first appeared around 1970, and that old signals were always dark green, not black.

Additional questions can be directed to him at editormike@chessiechapter.com

(Message edited by busterwmu on April 24, 2007)
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 174
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 1:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I can say with absolute certainty that the signal in the second-to-last pic is not at "Woodward and Caniff."
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Bulletmagnet
Member
Username: Bulletmagnet

Post Number: 349
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 9:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for your informative contribution Busterwmu. I lived at Casper and McGraw for a few years, and remember taking a series of photos towards John Wayne Bar. I bet I have an old photo of that light. I'll give a look for it tonight. We now live in Ferndale and I know of the light at Republic and 9 mile, like the one in your first photo. I have to admit, I didn't know 'light spotting' even existed, but I am glad you care to share your information.
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Detroit_signal
Member
Username: Detroit_signal

Post Number: 11
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 1:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks guys for your input on this topic. I will be posting a "classic signal of the week" thread on a regular basis.

I think I have a photo of the signal at McGraw and Epworth? that is green. That will be my first "signal of the week".
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Detroitgalaxian
Member
Username: Detroitgalaxian

Post Number: 3
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 3:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here's a few notes I want to add to some of the things there were pointed out by others above...

-- There is an intersection towards the west end of Highland Park that has some Crouse-Hinds Type M signal heads with "smiley" lenses. (Sorry, I do not recall the exact intersection. I'll drive by there soon and take note.)

-- One of the Crouse-Hinds beacons in Ferndale still has it's "smiley" lenses in it. It's on Wanda St. between 8 and 9 mile.

-- Also, some of the Ferndale intersections with modern beacons have old Crouse-Hinds art-deco-style control boxes. So there were probably several more of the old 4-way beacons at an earlier time.

Ryan K
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Detroitgalaxian
Member
Username: Detroitgalaxian

Post Number: 7
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 3:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A question about three-light round-lensed pedestrian signals in the Detroit area:

As a youngster in the late 70's, I had been intrigued by a scattering of these odd pedestrian signals around the northwest area of Detroit. The intersection of Outer Drive and Grand River (or was it 6 mile) near my grandmother's house had several of these.

These pedestrian signals sported *round* WAIT and WALK lenses instead of the usual square ones. (These lenses were made by Kopp Glass.) The orange WAIT lenses had a stripe above and below the text. The WALK lenses were white text on an all-black field. (Note the use of stripes is reversed from what is seen on many square DONT-WALK/WALK lenses.) Also, ALL of these signals had 3 light-sections, instead of the usual 2 found in most modern pedestrian signals.

At least two of these signals survived all the way until the year 2000. One was at one of the Southfield+8-mile intersections. The other was in Dearborn on Outer Drive. Since then, I have continuously been on the lookout for more of these. I have been all over the place and have been unsuccessful in locating any more of them. So I am BLOWN AWAY to have looked at this YouTube link identified in Busterwmu's earlier posting! Somebody found one - or at least the partial remains of one.

I paid it a visit (at Calvert + 14th). Unfortunately, there are now stop signs and the intersection has been decommissioned to a 2-way stop with the signals permanently blinking red/yellow. The un-lit WALK light is IMPOSSIBLE to notice unless you know what you're looking for and you are standing right in front of it. I am so happy that someone found it and then even took the time to shoot video of it in operation. ...because it will never be lit again!

So on to my question:

All of these signals in the Detroit area had 3 sections! But despite having known about the 2 that survived until 2000, I cannot for the life of me remember what the middle section was used for! Can anyone fill me in on this? Maybe they were all Red/Yellow/Green signals recommisioned as pedestrian signals, and the middle sections were not wired up. Or maybe the middle sections may have had plain yellow traffic lenses and these followed the same timing as the signals for traffic did. Does anyone know? Does anyone even remember these? (Super bonus: Does anyone have a photo of one in the wild?) Also, can anyone identify what periods of time they were in use?

Now that a (partially) remaining specimen has been located, I am curious if there are still more to be found. For years, I have kept my eyes open for these in two locations: A) signal heads that face against traffic on one way streets. B) Signals which are in places that pedestrian signals ought to be, and are otherwise overkill for traffic. (Notice how many "small" intersections in Detroit have 4 signal heads facing in some of the directions?) Maybe some of you fellow signal-spotters can be on the lookout for this endangered species if you hadn't known about them already.

Side note:
Downtown Ann Arbor had some 3-section pedestrian signals in the 80's. These were different than the Detroit ones I described above. They had square lenses and were: WALK, DONT START, DONT WALK. (Does anyone remember what color the DONT START lens was? I don't.)

Ryan K
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Japes
Member
Username: Japes

Post Number: 18
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 9:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The ones in Dearborn were a Orange Wait, Yellow, an a White Walk. They was one on Oakwood and Southfield up till 2001 or 02 on the DFCU corner, it was the year they redid the Oakwood overpass and installed new span wire signals and removed the old mast arms. They used to be at Outer Drive/Oakwood/Rotunda and Southfield. I remember them as a kid and I'm not that old. The one on Oakwood had a Yellow ball, but I the one at Rotunda said Caution. Also If I remember right -- at least the ones on Southfield were only displayed on the opposite way of a one way street. The other way had a standard 3 color balls.

There are some still really old signals at Cherry Hill and Gulley in Dearborn, Wyandotte also has some very old signals as well.

(Message edited by japes on May 11, 2007)
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Detroitgalaxian
Member
Username: Detroitgalaxian

Post Number: 8
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 10:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Japes -

I actually lived in Dearborn for a couple years in the 1999-2001 timespan - only a mile from those three intersections that you noted - and I never noticed those signals!

The one in Dearborn I did know about was not far from there at the intersection of Outer Drive and Pelham.

Do you happen to remember what the CAUTION lens looked like? Was the text lit against black, as with the WALK/WAIT lenses? Or was it black text against a yellow ball?

Ryan K
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Japes
Member
Username: Japes

Post Number: 19
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 1:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Has the same look at the wait and walk was blacked out except the caution -- but the only one that had that was the one on Rotunda side where the lions training camp was facing the old Ford/Visteon building. My grandma used to live on that side of dearborn and my uncle lived in east dearborn so we would ride our bikes over.

The one that lasted the longest was the one in front of the DFCU. Facing south. Oakwood/Southfield still had the old mast arms, were outer drive and Routunda had been upgraded.

They also NEVER faced traffic they were always facing the opposite way, the ones that faced traffic were std 3 color signals.
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Bjl7997
Member
Username: Bjl7997

Post Number: 112
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 1:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

the big streets such as Michigan, Gratiot, and gd river, should be hung by modern boom signals
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Bjl7997
Member
Username: Bjl7997

Post Number: 113
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 1:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

especially on Jefferson and Fort

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Japes
Member
Username: Japes

Post Number: 20
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 5:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That signal you just posted is about $125,000 -- and by that signal -- I mean that one, nothing else at the intersection.
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Detroitgalaxian
Member
Username: Detroitgalaxian

Post Number: 9
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 9:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Japes -

Look how much cheaper these things cost on ebay...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Steel-Traf fic-Signal-Poles-Signals-Light s_W0QQitemZ130112432200QQihZ00 3QQcategoryZ57118QQrdZ1QQcmdZV iewItem

An entire modern mast-arm intersection could be your's for $3000!

Ryan K
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Fareastsider
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Username: Fareastsider

Post Number: 393
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 - 12:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What do you think of the LED signals in Oakland Co?
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Bjl7997
Member
Username: Bjl7997

Post Number: 116
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 10:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i could definitely agree with you more,, Detroitgalaxian

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