West Chester Pike looking east from Highland Park, c.1915
NOTE: In the mid 1920's with eastern Delco. becoming the new suburban area of Phila. and more cars being driven, country roads being widened and paved, everyday traffic control became very important. In 1925 red, yellow and green lights were introduced in Delco. and the problem of automatic or manual control of the lights was discussed. See below.
TRY NEW SIGNAL SYSTEM ON PIKE
Sergeant Kauffman Pleased With Results on First Day
Traffic was regulated on the West Chester Pike, opposite the Sixty-Ninth Street Terminal yesterday by a new tri-color lighting signal that will be operated at all dangerous intersections in the township next week, according to Chief of Police Earl Kauffman, who seems very much pleased with the first day’s results of the new lights.
All during the day policemen operated the signal by hand from a small shed on the southwest corner of Sixty-Ninth Street Boulevard and the West Chester Pike and in the evening Chief Kauffman spent a few hours operating the lights himself, studying the results of his labor as he worked. Many motorists ran past the signals during the course of the day but the local policemen stopped all of the offenders and reminded them that the new lights were in operation. No arrests were made, however, because Superintendent Kauffman thought the motorists should have an allowance until they become acquainted with the new signals.
After the new system has been established Kauffman says the lights will be worked automatically during the middle of the day when the traffic is not so heavy. The police chief is of the opinion that hand-operated signals will better regulate traffic during the rush hours in the morning and evening. An officer will always be on duty whether or not the lights are being operated by hand.
Motorists who run past the new signals will not be able to alibi that they did not see the lights because the equivalent of 400 candle power shines through each of the three lenses and the lights can be seen several hundred yards distant. When the signal is being automatically run the green light will shine for West Chester Pike traffic for 40 seconds while automobiles traversing Sixty-Ninth Street Boulevard or making right-hand turns into the terminal will be given the “go” signal for 30 seconds. Vehicles will be permitted to make lift-hand turns for a 20-second period.
Traffic signals over the intersection of West Chester Pike and Darby Road and West Chester Pike and Township Line Road in Haverford Township, were also operated yesterday for the first time since the new system in that township was introduced by Charles Smith, chief of police.
Haverford’s lights work similar to Upper Darby’s new system. The former township has also had considerable experience in experimenting with automatic traffic regulation systems and has at last adopted the three-light method having a special signal for left hand turns. All day yesterday the lights in the smaller township were automatically operated. The exact timing of the lights has not yet been definitely decided upon and this problem is the one Chief Smith is trying to satisfactorily solve now.
Lansdowne police have been instructed to regulate traffic at the intersection of Baltimore Pike and Lansdowne Avenue by hand. The authorities in this borough have also found that traffic can be more efficiently handled in rush hours by hand operated signals than by automatic lights.