Friday, June 18, 2010

Normal Signals

No one likes sitting at red lights but we do appreciate having a chance to go through the intersection (hopefully) safely when the light turns green, so we put up with it. The irritation of sitting at red lights increases dramatically, though, at intersections where there is no or very little cross-traffic, and/or at intersections where a traffic signal just doesn't seem to make much sense (like at a one-way side street that dead-ends onto a one-way, 2-lane street). I haven't heard of any traffic signals being replaced by stop signs, so I think it's safe to say that once a traffic light gets installed, it's here to stay.

That makes the suggestion from this article of replacing traffic signals with stop signs very radical but it does make a lot of sense. Here is what the author says about using stop signs (AWSC = all-way stop control; TWSC = two-way stop control) instead of signals, such as what happens when traffic signals aren't working:

"Now, if you’ve ever noticed that traffic seems to flow more smoothly when the signals are broken than when they’re working, it’s not your imagination - the Transportation Engineering Institute confirms that “AWSC treats the cross-street movements more favorably, without the wasted time associated with traffic signals.”
Implementing TWSC or AWSC is cheaper, by several magnitudes, than installing a traffic signal, which nowadays costs from $80,000 to $100,000 or more depending on bells and whistles such as crosswalk signals and the like. Add to this the perpetual expense of maintenance and the cost of electricity to power signals 24 hours a day, and you’re talking about a serious drain on taxpayer dollars."

Saving money and allowing traffic to move more smoothly with something as low-tech as a stop sign. Imagine that the next time you're waiting at a red light at ??????? and ???????? [fill in the street names of a despised intersection] even though there is no cross-traffic or there was only one vehicle and it left the scene quite some time ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment