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Frequently Asked Questions - Traffic Signals

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact if there is a problem at a signalized intersection?

Contact the Contact Centre at 905-475-4704 or The City will dispatch the maintenance contractor to investigate and make necessary repairs.

Why do some traffic signals stay green at night?

During overnight and other periods where there is low vehicle demand on the side street, the green will stay  on the major road.  However, when a vehicle is detected and/or a pedestrian presses the push button, the traffic signal will service the side street accordingly.  Should the intersection change without side street demand, this may indicate faulty detector loops and/or a stuck pedestrian button.  If this is occurring, please contact the Contact Centre.

How are vehicles detected?

Loop detectors are imbedded in the roadway of side streets and left turn lanes. These detectors help improve the operational efficiency of the intersection and reduce delays on the major roads.

Why does the signal turn green for a side street when nobody is there?

The most common reason for this is that the vehicle detector loop in the pavement or pedestrian push button has failed, or is broken from road or utility construction. When a detector loop fails, the traffic signal adapts to the failure by providing a “green” indication to the side street at pre-set intervals.  Because there is no vehicle detection, the “green” indication may be displayed longer than what is necessary.  If you notice this scenario at any of the City of Markham’s signalized intersections, please contact the Contract Centre.

Why does the "Walk” display not appear when the green display appears? How does the pedestrian push button operate?

The green display is for vehicular traffic and not for pedestrians who wish to cross the street. At most signalized intersections, there are push buttons with instructions to allow pedestrians to safely cross the street.  To ensure a “WALK” display, always press the button once and wait for the “WALK” to be displayed before starting to cross the street. If there is no button, a “WALK” display will appear automatically to advise when it is safe to cross the street.

Why does the flashing hand appear before I've finished crossing?

The flashing “DON’T WALK” hand is a warning to pedestrians who have not yet entered the intersection that it is too late to start crossing. Pedestrians should not begin crossing the street when the flashing hand signal appears but should continue crossing if they have already started.

What if I don’t push the pedestrian button?

Not pressing the pedestrian button provided will result in the traffic signal to continue servicing vehicular traffic and ignoring pedestrians who are waiting to cross.  Pedestrians need more time than cars to cross the street.  Therefore, it is necessary to push the button to provide you with adequate time to cross safely.

Why do I keep hearing beeping or chirping sounds at some intersections?

Audible/Accessible pedestrian signals are installed at signalized intersection to assist with pedestrians who have visual disabilities.  The audible sounds provide guidance to visually impaired pedestrians, indicating when there is an active “WALK” phase.  To activate the audible feature, the push button must be pressed and held for 3 seconds.

Are traffic signals in Markham coordinated?

The traffic signals at municipal intersections are not coordinated at this time.  However, the traffic signals along York Region’s arterial roads (such as Highway 7 and Kennedy Road) are coordinated for peak direction of travel in peak hours.