Are there traffic signal sensors?

Marc of Grand Haven asked, "Why does McDonald's, a private business, have in-pavement traffic signal sensors that control the signal for the northbound reversal on U.S. 31?"
Mark Brooky
Oct 18, 2013

Marc said further: "I've never seen a private business with traffic sensors before. If these are taxpayer funded, then I'm paying for the convenience of a diner which exacerbates the already dismal traffic situation in town. Many times I've seen all of the southbound traffic on 31 come to a halt for a single McDonald's customer to leave the lot. What gives?"


There are no sensors, sometimes called "loops," for that traffic signal.

Now, why the traffic signal is on southbound Beacon Boulevard at the McDonald’s driveway is because it also serves as a crossover for the highway at the Robbins Road intersection, explained Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman John Richard. 

"The southbound signal at McDonald’s allows a break in traffic not only for the McDonald’s traffic, but also for the northbound U.S. 31 traffic turning at the crossover to head south," Richard said. "If the signal was placed at the crossover, McDonald’s traffic would have trouble accessing U.S. 31. By placing the signal at McDonald’s, we were able to create better access for U.S. 31 traffic and McDonald’s traffic."

Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on three times a week: at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.





how about the camera,s at jackson and us31, are they just sensors or are they surveillance cam,s for police


Those are most definitely cameras. There is no way to get out of town, via the Northern corridor, without being filmed. Whether your for or against this kind of surveillance it's a cold, hard fact that the %$&@ things are everywhere, just look around as you make your way thru your day. You'll be amazed.


Spoken with the probing eye of a true photographer who knows about these things.


The sensors are in the road. They are inductors that can sense the car over them. I have seen a few of them in Grand Haven, but none of them seem to be working. The McDonald's light is more for Northbound Robbins road traffic. But it is annoying to be stopped at a light because some fatty is leaving McDonald's. It is unfortunate for Tim Horton's, because it is really difficult to get there if you are going South.


Some signals also use cameras as a sensor.


i have seen the speed traps in arizona, they are camrea,s along side of the road, some place,s warn you they are present, my sister was there some time ago and had no idea she was being watched, when she got home there was speeding ticket in the mail box waiting to be paid, i would expect those kind of speed trap,s in this area sometime soon with the reduced budgets here in michigan, so less patrol


They stop you there to secretly sample your DNA and read your thoughts so next time get the really wide foil from GFS so you can protect your whole body from alien cyber-attack!. pr is correct the light is for northbound traffic, more specifically ambulances and state cops, it’s not for fatties leaving McDonalds even though from time to time it helps us…er them.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.