This is the light at Main and Union, at appoxmiately 3:30 in the morning on Friday night/Saturday morning. I know you can’t tell, but the light is flashing red in all four directions (Main Street is a pedestrian mall, so that means it is basically a stop sign for Union). If you zoom in on the pic (I’ve uploaded it at full resolution – about 1 MB – dialup users be warned) you can see that there is a police car parked outside Cafe Samovar, waiting to catch people who don’t come to a full stop.
This is the only time that light is EVER set to 4-way red – when a cop is watching the intersection. Same goes for another intersection downtown, Linden and Walnut, which is a major thoroughfare for downtown into midtown. If you ever see one of these lights flashing red, I recommend coming to a COMPLETE stop – stop, 1, 2, 3, go – before continuing.
With all the murders, robberies, rapes, and other violent crimes in Memphis, I really have to question whether the Memphis Police Department is making the best use of its time and resources, switching traffic lights to flashing red as bait to catch minor violators.
If anyone from MPD reads this and would like to respond, I promise to publish your full, unedited answer in my blog.