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North Pearl Street. looking toward Livingston Avenue. Photo taken 5 July 2002.

Where it all began

This is where it all began.

This city started it all for me. Sorry folks—I was about 5 years old in 1964, and when I saw the traffic light at the corner of Lawn Avenue and North Pearl Street, that was the living end for me.

Now for some history: In the beginning, Albany received its share of traffic signals, along with other cities. Intially, the signals were dark-colored. In the 1940s, the city would receive its Art-Deco, pagoda-shaped signals from Crouse-Hinds that would be a major trademark of the city to this day. These particular signals had green housing. However, around 1955, the city began to paint the signal heads yellow, and this has remained in force, despite the fact that some green-colored units around the State Capitol and Empire State Plaza were installed around 1972. Most of these were replaced in the 1990s by yellow units.

In 1997, the city instituted a change in signals. The traffic signals would remain in their color, but the poles or tubular mast arms, the pedestrian signals and the accompanying street signs would follow a particular scheme: Black in downtown and busy areas, mimicking wrought iron, while residential intersections would be painted dark green, mimicking the green doors of the houses (and, please, no jokes about “Behind The Green Door,” that 1956 hit song!).


The Golden State infiltrates the city’s downtown. A stunning new signal!

Global changes on Central and Washington avenues.

They used to prevail on Central Avenue.

Pagoda heaven!

New modes for an old pagoda signal.

More themes in green.

Here is an Art Deco bracket.

Themes in the City of Albany.

A changing of the guard!