During certain (peak) hours of the day Traffic Engineers determined it to be advantageous and optimal from an overall traffic flow perspective to coordinate the traffic signals at Western Ave & Elm St with adjacent traffic signals along the Elm Street corridor (at Main/College Ave, Park/Appleton St, Percival/Spring St, and Silver St). Under traffic signal coordination it is true that Park/Appleton Street signals change (cycle) quicker than the traffic signals at Western Avenue. In fact, under coordination the Park/Appleton signals change at exactly half the amount of time it currently takes at Western Avenue. That is because east/west traffic flows along Elm Street arrive at, and travel through, the Park/Appleton Street intersection simultaneously. Conversely, the eastbound flows along Elm Street arrive at Western Avenue in the front part of the Elm Street green indications and the westbound flows arrive at the end of the Elm Street green indications. As noted by motorists waiting at Western Avenue, this is why it appears there is no traffic on Elm Street (i.e., motorists see eastbound vehicles, a short duration of potentially no substantial traffic flows, then westbound vehicles). This arrival pattern cannot be changed at Western Avenue as arrivals are a function of Western Avenue’s physical intersection spacing in relation to Silver Street signals to the east and Percival/Spring Street signals to the west. If Western Avenue was to cycle similar to Park Avenue (i.e., exactly half the time it does presently) during signal coordination then one of the directional flows along Elm Street would have a guaranteed STOP. Stopping coordinated Elm Street traffic (approximately 76% of the total number of vehicle entering the Elm/Western intersection during any given peak hour) was determined to be less desirable/advantageous than operating the Western Avenue approach (servicing approximately 24% of total number of vehicle entering the intersection) under the same cycle lengths (i.e., wait times) being provided at Elm Street’s intersections with Main/College Ave, Percival/Spring St, and Silver St.
It is also noted that during mid-morning, early evening, and late night that the Western Ave & Elm St traffic signals do operate on-demand (i.e., vehicles are serviced when they arrive at the intersection as long as there aren’t vehicles being served on conflicting approaches). Traffic Engineers determined this on-demand mode of operation to be desirable/advantageous only during lighter traffic volume periods.