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Change the lights

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published August 3, 2009

I spent last week in Columbus. As I drove up High Street in the evening, the traffic lights switched from their standard green light, yellow light, red light mode to yellow flashers for the main thoroughfare and rred flashers for side streets.

Yet, as I drive up and down my street, Fifth Avenue, day or night I still have to stop at every light and wait for no one to enter from side streets. Yes, I realize it's a four-lane road and a major through-way, but if Columbus and its many more residents can implement flashers on a four-lane road with a turn lane, surely we can do the same on Fifth.

This is before a discussion of timing the lights. Only if I exceed the speed limit by ten miles per hour or more can I make it through the majority of stop lights on Fifth. Even then, there are some that won't cooperate. Moments after driving northbound from the light at Fifth Avenue and Spring Street, by Stambaugh Stadium, the light at the 422 overpass turns red. 

How difficult is this? What does it take to adjust the light sequence? How committed are we to living greener and more sustainably and adjusting our circumstances to the realities of our lowered population?

Yes, of course I realize this is not our top priority; I'm not suggesting it's an emergency. But it's one of those little things that makes me feel like we need to raise our expectations and pay attention to a few details that add up to quality of life and pride of place.

I, for one, don't think it's safe to have unwritten rules like "You don't have to stop for lights in Youngstown at night." We could set certain ones to automatically switch to flashing mode and solve the problem.

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