Red Light Means Stop ... For No One

August 23, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’ve heard quite a bit of grumbling this summer about all of the road construction going on around town. To the whiners I simply say: get over it. Lincoln is way behind on addressing needs with its streets. We should all be thankful, not cranky, that some of those needs are finally being addressed. Those “Road Closed” barriers? They’re beautiful signs of progress and repair.

But not all is beautiful in road construction land. Let’s talk about traffic lights. I’ve ranted before about how some of Lincoln’s traffic lights are timed more appropriately for lining the pockets of local gas station owners than for promoting traffic efficiency. The traffic light situation near construction zones is even worse. Many of you are already nodding your heads because you know what I’m about to say.

Have you found yourself driving around Lincoln, only to be held up by a traffic light that’s going about its regular routine despite the fact that traffic patterns have been substantially altered by nearby road construction? If you haven’t, you’re extraordinarily lucky. Just a few of the intersections at which I’ve experienced nonsensical traffic light patterns this summer include:

  • 48th and Pioneers
  • 48th and Calvert
  • 27th and Sheridan
  • 27th and Capitol Parkway
  • 40th Street, South to Highway 2 (because of additional load from 27th and 48th Streets)

It’s as though the folks responsible for road construction planning and the folks responsible for traffic signals never communicate with one another. Furthermore, it’s as though the folks responsible for traffic signals never get out and drive around town to see how their signals are performing. Both situations are ridiculous and unacceptable.

Some unpleasant traffic situations can’t be helped. When portions of both South 27th Street and South 48th Street are closed, South 40th will naturally take some abuse. That’s to be expected. But what about annoyances like at 48th and Calvert right now. It has become a three-way T intersection with Calvert as the primary street, yet the light is still set up as though it’s a 4-way intersection with 48th Street as the main traffic-bearer. The simplest solution would be to turn off the traffic light altogether and put up some stop signs. A three-way stop would be vastly more efficient than what’s there now. Similar hiccups with similarly simple solutions are going on all across town.

In the big scheme of things these traffic signal quirks are minor annoyances. Yet minor annoyances build up and they do get to people. The situations I’ve described can be improved at little or no cost. Isn’t it worth a try to fix some of these?

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The Comments

Cotton August 23, 2010 at 4:56pm

As a spouse of “one of those folks responsible for traffic signals”, I suggest you call the council person that represents your area of the city or the mayor’s office with your complaints.  If you knew more about traffic lights, you might realize that there is a lot more involved with changing the timing than you might imagine.

Mr. Wilson August 23, 2010 at 5:08pm

As this person’s spouse, please pass on the message that if it’s true that “there is a lot more involved with changing the timing than you might imagine”, then your spouse could do the community a lot of good by putting up a fuss. A calm, rational, persistent fuss.

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