>>What gives? What do others do about this situation? Have you actually tried to get an official answer to the question of "What do I do at a red-light when I am unable to trigger it.."??<<
I forget who told me (I think it was a State Cop) but proceedure for a non-functional or disfunctional light, which seems to apply to the situation was as thus.
Confirm that no vehicle or pedestrian approaches from either direction.
Use headlight/flashers to draw attention to your vehicle and signal that you are about to cross the intersection.
Apply horn twice and carefully proceed through the intersection.
Of course, as with many laws, those who are mandated to apply and enforce them have no clue what they are.
(And I won't get into why that makes the police just one more street gang, now.)