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Traffic Engineering

Traffic engineering increases safety and accessibility within the street network of Walnut Creek.

The Traffic Engineering Division is working closely and in cooperation with the Department of Engineering Services, Road Planning, Planning, and Walnut Creek Police.

Responsibilities include:

  • Managing 100 traffic signals
  • Collaborating on enhancements to walking and biking facilities
  • Reviewing street designs
  • Traffic control devices (such as traffic signals and signs)
  • Street lights
  • Managing residential and valet parking services
  • Evaluating the curb, including parameters, restrictions, and designations for on-street parking
  • Oversize load permits
  • Traffic calming
  • Reviewing transportation impacts related to new development projects

Traffic Engineering assists the Transportation Commission in the planning of multimodal and long term operations.

Traffic Signals

Within City limits, Traffic Engineering manages and operates more than 100 traffic signals. The new computer simulation and optimization models are used at all intersections of the city to build and enforce signal timings. The models’ data inputs include traffic volumes, lane width, posted speed limits, crosswalk length, and other roadway physical features that affect traffic flow.

Traffic engineers assess the need for organized (synchronized) traffic signals based on the volume of traffic, traffic patterns, and other characteristics of the road. The signaling timing varies depending on the intersection during the day. If the traffic signals are synchronized, the route with the high traffic volumes will perform faster. For example, westbound (toward San Francisco) or outbound progression in the morning commute is preferred over the eastbound or inbound progression. The signal timing in the Central Region is more difficult, as the system balances traffic flow between the major left and right turns, and traffic through.

I’ve been stuck at this light forever!

There are two main reasons why this might be happening:

  1. You are coming from the side street to a big road. The main street (such as Ygnacio Valley Road or Treat Boulevard) has a lot of traffic, and the signals have long cycle times in order to have as much time as possible to drive vehicles along those roads. That means you should wait for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes up the green.
  2. The detector just doesn’t work. Detectors in the City are either loops in the ground (sometimes you can see a circle cut in the pavement) that can sense the presence of your car OR they are video cameras that are actually used for detection only (these cameras do not capture any images, they only see a car and notify the traffic signal to adjust when it’s ready). If you believe a detector can not operate, please let us know by contacting us via the connection in the sidebar.

Does pushing the pedestrian push button multiple times make it change quicker?

No. When you want to cross you just have to say the traffic signal. The signal will give you the green as soon as possible, after performing the remaining sequence moves.

Can I change a light to green by flashing my headlights?

No. Preemption is triggered by a special light that pulses at a particular time, mounted on emergency vehicles.

How do I drive through a signalized intersection if the traffic signal isn’t operational?

According to the California Vehicle Code, any motorist must treat the intersection as an all-way stop when a signaled intersection is out due to a power failure. Please remain alert and drive with caution!

By Geraoma - Own work, Public Domain,
By Geraoma – Own work, Public Domain,

Walnut Creek, California serves its citizens in various capacities for a number of services.  Here’s a great list of local government offices: 

  • Walnut Creek City Council
  • Walnut Creek Streets-Building
  • Walnut Creek Public Services Department
  • Walnut Creek Cultural Services Department 
  • CalPERS Walnut Creek Regional Office 
  • Walnut Creek Planning & Zoning
  • Walnut Creek Superior Court
  • Walnut Creek Police Department

All of these wonderful city government offices are located just a short distance from our location at 1091 Shary Circle in Concord, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!