battery backup device Device keeps traffic lights working during blackouts / Bay Area cities trying out battery backups
Judging from the daze gaze and stuttering of traffic signals during the recent continuous power outage, drivers in the Bay Area are not proficient in intersection etiquette.So in order to keep these red, yellow and green bright during the terrible blackout, many cities and counties are turning to batteries --Power backup system for its signal."I 've seen those blank eyes," Sgt said .".Joe Ross from the traffic department at the Walnut Creek police station."I 've seen a lot of close-up calls."Some cities in San Francisco, Marin County and East Bay are installing or testing battery backups at intersections.Manufacturers report that the technology is also being used in communities south of San Diego.The device consists of electronic hardware connected to 12-1One or two Volt batteries that can power the lightsLEDs--or LED --Four hours of traffic signal.Last week, the city manager of Walnut Creek authorized $230,000 to equip 28 signals along major thoroughfares such as Ygnacio Valley Road, Main Street and Treat Boulevard.There are 88 signals in the city;City Manager Don blubaough said 36 of them were not affected by the rotating power outage as they were close to emergency facilities.Walnut Creek officials hope to install battery packs by next summer.They will allow the signal to run throughout the color cycle, not just flashing red."We walked the most critical intersection, and if the traffic there stopped, it stopped everywhere," blubaough said ." He was trapped in a power outage on the city street."It took me about 45 minutes that night to walk 2 miles in an hour.San Francisco officials estimate that it could cost nearly $3 million to upgrade 100 key intersections.They are working on state grants and would like to have a backup system installed by the end of the year.State Senate leader John BurtonSan Francisco, is sponsoring a legislation to fund the city to install spare batteries in high schoolPriority is given to traffic signals, especially in areas where children play or walk to school.The total amount available for the grant has not been determined.Last week, Novato's Electric received two contracts to put these battery packs on the signal at the main intersections in Marin County and Fremont city.The Republic will upgrade about 40 signals in Fremont and install backup systems at 11 major intersections in greenbray, Kent fields and strawberries.Wade White, president of the company, said the devices should be installed in a few weeks.Earlier this month, Pleasanton set aside a $367,000 battery backup system for 20 signals and adopted a policy requiring all new lights to be equipped with them.In the next few weeks, traffic engineers will test one of the devices at a crossroads at the southern tip of Pleasanton to see if the battery can reach the distance.Traffic Engineer Jeff Knowles said some systems disappeared in half an hour.The recent continuous power outage in the Bay Area lasted about 45 minutes to an hour."Our challenge for them is that we want to see it run for three hours," Knowles said ."."It needs to stay long enough to get us through the typical rolling outage."If the results are satisfactory, by the summer of next year, about 25 of the 90 traffic signals in Pleasanton may have a backup system installed.As part of the main maintenance of the old signal, the device will also be installed, Knowles said.The battery should be available for four years, but the manufacturer says those batteries that are placed in large metal cabinets that look like refrigerators ---But it's more like a summer oven.-Do not last too long and need to be replaced constantly.The state's energy crisis is a good thing for companies that make backup systems for signals, as well as for workplace and home electronics."With these outages, demand has increased dramatically," said John Cleary, founder of such a manufacturer in Monrovia, Los Angeles County."In the past year, we have sold about 500 to 1,000 vehicles in California.