Tag Archives: traffic lights

How I think the traffic lights on Park Avenue should be [Opinion]

I have no background in traffic planning whatsoever, but what the heck; it’s my blog, so I get to write about whatever I want. If anybody wants to add their own theory, please let me know. I’ll post your own article. The idea is to create conversation on ways to improve the traffic flow through our city. Here is my view:

What is the current traffic light situation on Park Avenue:

Right now it appears that all the traffic lights turn green in unison within seconds of each other. It’s impossible to drive from Grand Blvd to Maple Blvd (visa versa) without hitting most, if not all of these lights. For that, we get frustrated, which just leads to aggressive and impatient driving.

How I think the lights should work:

Nothing here is scientific. I am making up a few numbers, but this is all based on a theory, so please bare with me here.

Let’s pretend at 30mph it takes exactly 10 seconds to go from one light to another. The idea is to set the lights to go green 10 seconds part. Cars going at 30mph will coast through every successive traffic light without stopping. A car going 50mph will have to either stop or slow down and wait the few seconds until it turns green. Eventually motorists will learn this behavior that slower is actually better and less frustrating.

An illustration of what the hell I am talking about:

Again, pretend at 30mph it takes exactly 10 seconds to go from one light to another.

In the image below, two cars travelling east are stopped at a traffic light (1) at 1:00pm.

light (1) turns green @ 1:00:00 
light (2) turns green @ 1:00:10
light (3) turns green @ 1:00:20
light (4) turns green @ 1:00:30

Car (A) driving 30pmh will coast through all the lights without stopping.

Car (B) driving at 50mph will either slow down or stop at each or most lights because they arrive too early.

(Of course, both cars have to stop at one of the lights in order for this chain reaction to kick in.)

How does this work with traffic coming the other direction and matching red lights? I have no idea.. haha. I heard Garden City has their lights programmed this way, so maybe we should just copy them. Like I said, I have no background in traffic planning, so please don’t shoot me. I’m just trying to create conversation on ways to improve the traffic flow in our city. Anybody have a better idea? Please don’t say to leave them alone, because driving down Park Avenue now is completely frustrating.