Geek Trivia

The City Of Syracuse New York Has A Traffic Light With Green On Top Because Of?

Irish Immigrants
Superstition
Vestigial British Traffic Law
The Syracuse Chiefs
What Kind Of Creature Was Named After Sci-Fi Writer Michael Crichton?

Answer: Irish Immigrants

The Tipperary Hill district of Syracuse, New York has a rather curious looking traffic light. Throughout the United States, the standard Department of Transportation guidelines for traffic lights are: red light on top, yellow light in the middle, and green light on the bottom. In Tipperary, at the intersection of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue, you’ll find an inverted traffic light where the green light sits atop the yellow and the red resides at the bottom.

Why green over red? The district was settled by Irish immigrants and, when the first traffic light was installed in 1925, a band of young and boisterous Irish boys took it upon themselves to break the traffic light on account of the British color (red) lording over the Irish color (green).

In order to avoid the disturbance and constantly fixing the light, the local alderman allowed for the reversal of the colors. Eventually the state of New York stepped in and insisted on adherence to standard conventions, but the vandalism soon returned. By 1928, the light was reversed again to place green over red and despite non-compliance with state and federal traffic standards, it has stood that way ever since.