This is a thought-exercise I think of just about every time I pass through this intersection. The above Microsoft Spy Satellite photo shows a quirky intersection at the end of the Pitkin St. exit ramp in East Hartford. The 2 roads at the bottom of the pic are the ramps to/from I-84. Pitkin St. is labeled, and the road at the top is an entrance to the Founders Plaza business park parking lot. All four arms of the intersection are controlled by a standard traffic light. (Click the photo for a larger version.)
Now the path that hits Pitkin on the right hand side of the photo is the pedestrian/bicycle path coming off the Founders Bridge which I use on my daily peregrination to my place of business. Cruising off the hill from the bridge, I get a pretty clear view of all four streets as well as the traffic light since it's elevated. Generally, I can time my speed and judge by the state of the traffic light and the pace of the traffic in all four directions to make my left onto Pitkin without losing my momentum off the bridge.
My query: I can make an argument that I correctly obeyed the traffic law by zooming through my left turn without stopping for either one of the traffic light's two states. If the green light is in the ramp/parking lot direction, I can say that the bridge path is in the same direction in its intersection with Pitkin and I therefore have the green light. However, if the Pitkin St. traffic has the green, I can argue that when I actually get on Pitkin, I have not yet entered the intersection that the light controls due to the entry point of the bridge access path, so I therefore can claim the green as I proceed on Pitkin.
Which interpretation do you fine readers think is the correct one?
I only pose this because last week, I made my usual left turn and had to dodge a car careening out of the opposite parking lot at about 20 mph, making a right on red. Had we collided, I'm certain the driver of the car would've been at fault since he wasn't even close to coming to a complete stop before making the right on red. But I wanted to know if my argument "I was on Pitkin proceeding through a green light" is legally kosher.
We also had some confusion with this exact traffic light on a Critical Mass this past summer as some people stopped at the bottom of the path for the light and others proceeded unfettered.
Here's one more photo of the same intersection from the opposite angle only because the "birdseye view" feature of Microsoft Live Maps is both scary and cool, kinda like Google Maps StreetView.