The Water Cooler – The Longest Red Light in Claycord

June 19, 2014 12:00 pm · 64 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Our wonderful columnist Janis Mara writes the weekly column “Traffic Jammin'” every Monday on, and she talks about traffic signal timing once in a while.

There is always that one light you absolutely hate getting stuck at, because it takes FOREVER to turn green. Tell us about your least favorite traffic signal in Claycord. Where is it, and how long does it usually take before you can “go”!?

Talk about it!

1 B June 19, 2014 at 12:04 PM

The whole 680S-Monument Blvd. off ramp is a disaster during peak hours… My least favorite place to be around 4-6 pm

2 elephant June 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

cowell to turn left on ygnaicao

3 dilligafman June 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Gotta be the light coming off Babel onto Clayto Rd.

4 Matthew June 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

There have been a few times that I got stuck at the left turn light coming from Geary Rd to N Main St.
It’s so bad that the light rotation will cycle through 3-4 times before the left-turners get even one green light.

5 arghh!!! June 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

It HAS to be the light at West & Concord Blvd when the schools let out! All it takes is one student who wants to cross, and everything is stopped in both directions FOREVER!!!

6 Enfield303 June 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

It’s hard to pick just one, but the light at the 242 offramp at Concord Ave seems unusually long. But then again all lights seem to take forever. It depends on how much of a hurry you are in.

7 Oak Grove and Ygnacio June 19, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Westbound, between 6AM and 8AM. I know they’re set up to modulate traffic flow, but still an annoynace.

8 old guy. June 19, 2014 at 12:33 PM

The light at the corner of Cowell and San Miguel,heading
toward BART. It also has a “no right turn on red” sign, which
also slows down the wait.

9 Steve June 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Monument off ramp is bad, but a few times recently I’ve been in the turn lane on willow pass (turning left on to contra costa, by the mall) and it cycles thru every direction but mine, for several cycles!

10 Spanky Fortuna June 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Hands down…Candelero and Treat.

11 Concordejet June 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

The Red Light District

12 Antler June 19, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Clayton Road and Denkinger/Treat

Takes four lifetimes…… MORE if you let it really bother you.

13 Cool Countrywood Dude June 19, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Candelero and Treat! I’ve clocked it at 5 minutes twice when leaving for work around 7am on weekdays.

14 MikeyV June 19, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Concord traffic lights are so jacked up. The way they have them on timers (instead of sensors) really contributes to red-light running. I could count the time I spent waiting at red lights (one after the other) coming down Treat or Ygnacio in YEARS! It’s no wonder that people run lights around there. I was a good red-light-stopper, until I moved to Concord.

Let’s see, blow the light by a second or two, or wait (usually with no other cars moving thru the intersection) for 2.5 minutes. You can see how good people become scofflaws.

I now live in Martinez, and pretty much all lights are on sensors, so the only time you stop, is if another car is present…and then you only wait till they’ve cleared. It’s much easier to stop at the light (on time) if you know you’ll only be there for a few seconds.

I’d imagine that Concord has it’s revenue stream in mind when they decide to keep all lights on timers. Too bad the CPD are too busy crashing into each other to actually bust red-light runners. LOL. And we know it!

15 Blue Fan June 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Bonifacio and Port Chicago and then East St. Takes forever in the morning trying to get to the freeway, and after 5 trying to get home. Doesn’t make sense, often there’s no cross traffic whatsoever and you just sit there. Years ago I sent letters to Concord city management, no reply, no changes. I gave up hoping they even care about wasting the time of Concord citizens. I can make it one end of Oakland to the other in less time, all of their lights are timed. You hit it right, you never have to stop.

16 LoooongestLights June 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM

East and Clayton by the bart station

Ayers and Clayton

Park Highlands and Ygnacio

Cowell and Ygnacio

17 Glen June 19, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Any light that my XR needs to trip. (high up and little metal to trip the loop)

18 Mimi (original) June 19, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Claycordians: you have all mentioned very “good” examples. Don’t you wish every signal was a “Smart Signal” and recognized when traffic rolls up to a light so that it can trigger the appropriate green? I’ve only noticed a small handful of smart signals in the Claycord area.

19 Marianne June 19, 2014 at 1:39 PM

I have to agree with the light on Candelero and Treat it takes forever which is why I turn right on the green light.

20 Double A June 19, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Making a left off kirker pass onto ayers. I’ve timed it. It’s between 4 and 5 minutes.

21 OG Countrywood June 19, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Another vote for Candelero and Treat.

Additionally, if this were a vote for the most ass-backwards Home Owner’s Association in Claycord Countrywood would win as well!

22 CrayZ June 19, 2014 at 1:53 PM

turning left onto myrtle from kirker pass. OMG takes soooo long. i have literally sat there for five minutes before. and maybe even turned left on a red light a few times when there were no cars in sight…

23 I run 'em June 19, 2014 at 1:55 PM

who has time to wait for red lights to change color?

I have far more important things to do, the rest of you can wait, I’ll go.

24 The Worst Red Light..... June 19, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Coming down Clayton Rd. and turn Left onto Alberta (Next to Lucky’s). The worst red light experience, ever!

25 GT June 19, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Contra Costa Blvd. at Viking Dr and Sun Valley Mall entrance. It’s probably from the construction going on, but there were a few times lately where I’m driving on CC Blvd. late at night, and the light would turn red for no reason at all. There were no cars waiting at Viking or the entrance. And then I would wait for the signal to turn green again for about a minute or so, so this is more of a combination of the wait time and the fact that I get a red light at all on a main thoroughfare even when there are no other cars around. I hope they fix this soon.

26 Anon777 June 19, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Finally seeing some relief in early AM at Treat & Cowell as the Queen said, but not yet at Treat & Bancroft.

I have experienced most all the above and agree they are all long lights!

27 claycordian June 19, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Turning left from Claycord Avenue onto Clayton Road in the morning……

28 My time is precious June 19, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Turning lanes on Port Chicago Hwy. while waiting to turn onto Bonifacio St. Unbelievable!

29 RunnerDope June 19, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Another vote for San Miguel/Mesa at Cowell. The “no right turn on red” signs were added on both sides of Cowell a few years ago for no apparent reason. They just create a big traffic jam for no reason. After 7 PM, the timing becomes more reasonable.

30 momo June 19, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Whats even more frusterating and dangerous are the non protected left turn green lights from concord blvd to mendocino and west streets. If your not the first in line to turn left there, you can sit through five or six rotations when traffic is heavy on concord blvd. Sometimes the only way I’ve finally been able to turn is once the light has turned red and im already in the middle of the intersection.

31 Angelina June 19, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Left on Kirker Pass to Myrtle.

32 Ms.V June 19, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Anything that runs into Clayton Rd during commute.

What I call the Concord Cluster F*** ..Clayton Rd/Pt Chicago from CVS to Salvio. By BART. What rocket scientist programmed those lights?

33 William June 19, 2014 at 3:26 PM

San Miguel and Cowell is bad. So is Candelero and Treat Blvd.

34 Joe June 19, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Don’t get me started on red lights. I may flip a nutty.

35 That's All Folks! June 19, 2014 at 3:34 PM

All the red lights are too long and the greens are not long enough.

36 bored@work June 19, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Yet another vote for Candelero and Treat! I’m tempted to run it everytime but of course I never do…

37 TOB June 19, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Hands down left turn on Treat to S/N Main.. Always playing with it and on average 3 minutes. Lets those on Main turn left 3 times before giving up to those on treat wanting to turn left. They should make the person adjusting light sit there in morning and see result. 2 at most for those on Main turning on treat. Not 3.. By the time 3rd left turn hits maybe 4 cars meanwhile Treat backs up to Bart Station all waiting for left turn. Gross negligence or incompetence..

2nd is most any light on Clayton Road. Why must we wait until 4pm on weekends for a sensor wait 2-3 minutes no traffic on weekend to speak of.

38 Kelly Anne June 19, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Cowell and San Miguel for sure.And the south bound monument exit from 680. Both nightmares!

39 Concord Man June 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Sounds like many people have problems with multiple spots at Cowell Road. For me it’s Cowell and Ygnacio..

40 RunnerDope June 19, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Are the Candelero and Treat folks complaining about being stopped while on Treat or the time it takes to turn left onto Treat?

41 sidney June 19, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Boyd Rd & Contra Costa Blvd in Pleasant Hill (any direction).

42 truth June 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

If it is longer then 5 minutes and no one on the rd ill just proceed through. A light only van work with the flow of traffic. But if its gunna take forever use precautions action and follow through think of it as a flashing red light..

43 Cowellian June 19, 2014 at 4:27 PM

The longest red light is the one going flashy, flashy in your rear-view mirror after you almost made it through that yellow light in time.

44 CoCo June 19, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Any red light runners here?

45 me June 19, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Not sure, been 22 years since I left Concord. But, what is up with the timing of the lights on Monument? All the way. Is it still like that? The main road. Stop, go, stop, go, stop go, the whole way? If they have not changed that they need to do a study about this. I think it made the whole road and other roads names , forget the name changes, makes it all worse…. Just have it timed better, and traffic will flow down and less jamming.

46 e-rok June 19, 2014 at 5:39 PM

turning left onto Cowell from Ygnacio. drives me crazy

47 Spanky Fortuna June 19, 2014 at 5:57 PM

@40 Left from Candelero onto Treat, toward PH BART

48 CW June 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Seems like a LOT of the lights along Geary/Treat are bad. The other really slow light I notice is the intersection between Taylor/Sun Valley and Contra Costa.

49 CereBellum June 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Without a doubt, turning left into JMMC’s Emergency department. Makes no sense, as those normally waiting at that light, need to be seen fairly quickly. Sure, I have run the red light, otherwise I would still be sitting there.

50 Atticus Thraxx June 19, 2014 at 8:42 PM

49 posts and nobody said ‘Roxanne’. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

51 Andrea June 19, 2014 at 8:52 PM

The light at Treat and N.Main. If you try to make a u-turn to get to the 680, you can be at that light forever. It doesn’t help that right turn drivers from N. Main to East Treat do not yield to us u – turners, it can piss me off. We have a green arrow and they have a RED light. It should be a NO turn on RED. That would solve a lot of headache.

52 mallemployee June 19, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Vikkng / contra Costa is really long. I wonder if it is to control the traffic because there are three schools on coking.

53 Led June 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Treat/Denkinger and Clayton Road, when you are on Treat/Denkinger – fairly long all the time, but on weekends it is a complete disaster. Just tryna get to church around here, but I lose a good five minutes every time!

54 anon June 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

if you think these lights are bad, you’ll hate Reno. I could knit a sweater at almost any red light.

55 Anonymous June 19, 2014 at 10:39 PM

The lights on East St near Almond and Bonafacio. You go through one light only to be stopped at the NEXT! It takes like 10 mins to go 4 blocks!

56 Man in Brown June 20, 2014 at 7:00 AM

The left turn from Concord Blvd onto Parkside, either direction. After someone shows up and trips the Parkside light green then red, then the green arrow to turn onto Parkside comes on.

57 Crazytech58 June 20, 2014 at 7:45 AM

And of course if your on a motorcycle…….seems there are about 10% of the lights in the county that don’t trip when you cover the sensors….. have had to wait and run several after forever trying to be legal and proper

58 Frank June 20, 2014 at 7:54 AM


As it should be clear with anyone with two brain cells to rub together that traffic control is an unmitigated disaster all over Concord (& surrounding areas to some extent). I can totally agree with all of the respondents to your question on “Talk About”!

There are SOOO many instances of poor design & control all over town, especially on the main arteries, that it is a wonder that it isn’t total anarchy on the road.
Several weeks ago, you mentioned that in June, that there was to be some re-timing & re-programming of traffic signals. I have yet to witness any sign of that happening yet. Was Mr. Kuzbari blowing smoke up our nether regions?

In this day & age of “Greening of the Environment” one can but wonder why Concord has yet to take any steps in this direction concerning traffic flow.

The current sad state of traffic in Concord only worsens air quality by increased emissions due to the constant start & stop conditions imposed by poor traffic control. Keeping a smooth flow would go a long way to bettering our air quality & lessen our fuel consumption.

CONCORD…Let’s do SOMETHING to improve this mess!

59 car trouble June 20, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Candelero & Treat! have to leave the house 5 minutes early because I know I will be sitting at that light for a while. Also, people on treat are always running the red light, so when my light FINALLY turns green I slowly creep out to avoiding getting T-boned by some loser.

60 Aspirin June 20, 2014 at 8:33 AM

It depends whether it is a weekend, commute time, or a weekday with many intersections. Any red light is too long when in a hurry, and too short when you are trying to get something out of the glove box.

61 The Mamba June 20, 2014 at 8:49 AM

The correct answer is: All of Them.

62 Sue June 20, 2014 at 10:31 AM

I agree with #22. The longest waits are after 3:30 through rush hour. It seems to me it should be shorter at that time since the rush is going east and the cars should turn quicker to get them off Kirker. Usually no cars are coming west, and cars will turn on the red, very frustrating.

63 Kirkwood June 20, 2014 at 11:18 AM

I think the Concord traffic engineer and signal techs are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. The system and traffic patterns are extremely complex and increasingly challenging as the population grows. It COULD be improved, how much are you willing spend? Ain’t easy trying to please all of the people all of the time.

64 Always June 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM

@ Market and Concord Ave

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