Traffic Signals and Signs

Vancouver Public Works crews repairing signal lights on Mill Plain

Traffic Signals

The Department of Public Works operates the traffic signal systems throughout the City of Vancouver including signal timing and coordination, installation of individual traffic signals, video detection and the adaptive signal control system. In fact, the City's street system includes tens of thousands of signs and the operation of 235 traffic signals. Here are some more interesting facts:

  • 221 City owned/operated traffic signals
  • 1 County owned/city operated traffic signal
  • 13 State owned/city operated traffic signals
  • 9 City owned/City operated pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • 58 City owned/City operated school flashing signs
  • 11 City owned/City operated flashing crosswalks


Flashing Yellow Arrow Signals

In October of 2007, the City of Vancouver debuted a new style of traffic signal. Flashing yellow arrow left-turn signal lights are operational at multiple intersections in Vancouver. The flashing yellow arrow directs motorists to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic. The following brochures provide more instructions for motorists when using the new flashing yellow signals and can be viewed in EnglishSpanish or Russian.

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Crosswalks

In August of 2010, the City of Vancouver installed its first hybrid type of crosswalk at the existing, middle crossing along Fort Vancouver Way, near Clark College. The hybrid pedestrian crosswalk uses a red signal beacon and signage to alert drivers to pedestrians. The red signals help to command more attention from drivers than traditional yellow-light pedestrian signals. The hybrid pedestrian beacon is sometimes also referred to as a HAWK (High-intensity Activated crossWalK). Learn more about pedestrian hybrid crosswalks and how they work by watching our instructional video or reviewing the educational flyer in English, Spanish or Russian.

Locations include:
   - Ft. Vancouver Way, middle crossing near Clark College
   - St. Johns Boulevard, north of SR-500 at Northeast Petticoat Lane
   - Fourth Plain near T Street
   - Fourth Plain & Z Street
   - Fourth Plain & Fairmont Street
   - Fourth Plain & Neals Lane
   - Fourth Plain & Todd Road/Rossiter Lane
   - Southeast Mill Plain Blvd & Southeast 157th Avenue
   - E Mill Plain Blvd, west of Andresen Road

Stop Signs

Stop signs are used to control the movement of vehicles at intersections. Stop signs are not recommended for use as traffic calming devices and are not installed solely as an attempt to reduce speeding problems.

When are stop signs installed?
A stop sign is one of our most valuable and effective traffic control devices when used at the right place and under the right conditions. It is intended to help drivers and pedestrians at an intersection determine who has the right-of-way.

One-way or two-way stop signs are typically used at intersections to stop vehicles on a low-volume side-street before entering a high-volume street. Four-way (or “all-way”) stop signs are installed at locations where side-street users are unduly delayed while trying to enter the main road or where a traffic signal is needed, but not yet funded.

What are the stop sign installation criteria?
Before a stop sign can be installed, an engineering analysis must be conducted. Well-developed, nationally recognized guidelines help to indicate when a stop sign becomes necessary. The following criteria must be carefully considered:

  • Pedestrian crossing volume
  • Traffic volume
  • Reported collision history
  • Road characteristics and conditions
  • Visibility at intersection
  • Speed Limits