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SI1980

Classic Traffic Signal From New York City

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Some of you may remember that traffic signals in the city of New York once showed only red and green signal indications to motorists. They were in use for quite a long period of time, and it wasn't until the 2000s that what still remained in service were sadly removed.

 

Such traffic signals first appeared in the picture in the 1920s, and they were common to see on the streets of the city until the 1950s, which was when the amber indication was revitalized. Since then, two-section traffic signals slowly dwindled. By the 1990s and 2000s, there were a handful of survivors that had still remained in service in some areas of Queens, New York, such as Ozone Park, for example. I recall there were quite a handful of signalized intersections on one segment of Liberty Avenue (under the el) that had two-section traffic signals in service. They remained in service until 2007 or so. They're extinct as of present day. Another location in Queens is the Rockaways, in which two-section traffic signals were once fairly abundant on mainly Shore Front Pkwy. Sadly, these survivors were removed from service as well, which was in the mid 2000s. Ordinary three-section traffic signals now control the entire length of that parkway.

 

As I once mentioned here, I enjoy to collect vintage signal equipment that had originally seen service in the city of New York. One of my favorite items from my collection is my vintage four-way, two-section traffic signal. It is an old traffic signal that was manufactured by the Ruleta company, and it dates back to early 1930s or so. Ruleta provided countless two-section traffic signals for the city of New York for about two decades in the early 20th century. They are naturally extinct, and they're hard to come across. Below, is a video of it in operation. It is controlled by one of my vintage electro-mechanical signal controllers that saw service in the city of New York as well (hence the "KER-BUZZZ-CLUNK" in the background of the video). The famous overlap (red and green both lit) is shown, too. It is definitely a great piece of New York City's traffic control memorabilia.

 

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I remember seeing these a lot on the rockaways. Very cool!

 

Thank you. I vaguely remember, since I didn't visit the Rockaways too often. I remember the two-section traffic signals from mainly Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens, though. It is too bad they are now extinct.

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A few of these are still around in Central Park, no?

 

Yes; however, they are modern traffic signal heads. The original two-section traffic signals from the Ruleta company (like what I have in my possession) are long gone. 

 

These traffic signals are scattered throughout Central Park. Keep in mind, too, that they are pedestrian signals. With that said, they do not show the overlap (red and green both lit at the same time). Instead, they show a simple and ordinary transition, in which that is simply from green to red.

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