The Herald Bulletin

September 4, 2013

Editorial: Drivers want more green, lights that is

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Sometimes you just gotta make some noise.

That’s what Monte Clymer did. The Daleville resident got tired of sitting at the traffic light at 53rd Street and Scatterfield Road. The left-arrow light would allow about four cars to get through regardless of the line of traffic. Of course, this is frustrating to drivers in an endless wait. It’s also dangerous as motorists will try to hasten their turns after the light turns yellow and even red.

Clymer’s story actually had a happy ending. The state, which is responsible for highway traffic signals, checked out the light in question and found a defective sensor, the one that presumably knows the difference between four and more.

But the Daleville man wasn’t done. After all, sitting at traffic lights allows one to think and the immediate thought is, “How can I get out of this mess?” Clymer named more intersections he felt needed changes.

Traffic lights are, unfortunately, necessary for traffic control. Otherwise, city streets would resemble a bumper cars track. But it should be the responsibility of those who maintain the lights to keep traffic flowing. Anderson City Engineer Mike Spyers said lights are computer-controlled to optimize traffic flow.

He’s right, of course, but it’s not working everywhere. Go northbound on Jackson Street through the city and the lights are timed to keep cars moving. But traveling east or west on 14th Street? Forget it. And how about turning some lights to blinking yellow overnight? How many cars sit near the Lemon Drop waiting on cars to flood out of the mall even though it closed hours earlier?

Blinking yellow will keep traffic moving when there is very little traffic and stopping violates good sense. For the record, this intersection used to be blinking yellow but no longer.

Traffic lights also hit drivers in the wallet. How many gallons of gas are wasted in a year sitting at lights?

Since Clymer’s complaint came in, other Anderson residents have called to voice their own traffic light tales of terror.

We suggest that the city do a study of its lights and intersections to see where improvements could be made. We’re confident city officials would find many examples.

As long as there are cars on the road, there will be stop lights. They are a fact of life. But they don’t have to be a burden. We encourage the Monte Clymers in the area to keep calling city hall.

In summary Traffic lights are a fact of life, but they don't have to be a burden.