A long history of mixed signals

Saturday January 19, 2013

One of my family’s favorite stories involves local traffic signals. It goes something like this.

My father, a Pittsfield native, went through the officers training program when he enlisted in the Marine Corps during WW II. Before receiving his rank as 2nd Lieutenant, each candidate went before the commanding officer for a verbal interview.

When it was my father’s turn, after the usual formalities, the CO studied dad’s paperwork and addressed him: "I see you are from Pittsfield Massachusetts." My father replied "Yes sir." The CO then asked "Who is in charge of the traffic signals in that town?" My father replied "I don’t know sir." "That is all, Lieutenant " ended the interview.

If I remember correctly, in the late 1950s into the late ‘60s the traffic signals would cycle from green to yellow to red for stop. Then from red to yellow to green for go. Steady red and yellow in all directions for pedestrian crossing. Perhaps that was what the CO experienced.




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