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A plea from the ‘gridlocked generation’ After...

A plea from the ‘gridlocked generation’

After graduating from the prestigious Tijuana Border Crossing

School of Traffic Management and doing such a bang-up job with the

five-points reconfiguration project, it appears that the Burbank

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Traffic Control Department has moved its quest for achieving total

gridlock over to Buena Vista Street.

I’ve lived a few doors away from the intersection of Buena Vista

and Burbank Boulevard for the past 12 years, and seeing no need

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whatsoever for a stoplight with a left-turn arrow, I was overjoyed to

see one installed in the last couple of months. Burbank is now backed

up much further than it ever was before in both directions. Buena

Vista also backs up a good block or so in the mornings. As an added

bonus, it takes twice as long to walk from Conroy’s to 7-Eleven,

thereby even gridlocking foot, scooter and bicycle traffic.

What a magnificent achievement, and in these times of inflated gas

prices, it must feel so wonderful to be sitting safe and snug in your

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cozy little SUV going nowhere for five minutes at a stretch. These oh

so clever traffic management solutions have broadened many a Burbank

driver’s horizons. I know myself that in the last couple of years I

have spent quite a bit of time driving down alleys, side streets and

across parking lots I never would have driven before, all thanks to

their efforts. The five-points reconfiguration alone stands as the

pinnacle of their art. I’m sure many a Burbanker has gone through the

new intersection, looked to the heavens and exclaimed, “What a piece

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of work!”

And let’s not forget that other jewel of traffic planning -- the

Empire Center. Forget NASCAR, if you really want to experience the

sheer thrill and ultimate danger of driving on the razor’s edge, try

the Empire Center some Saturday afternoon with a light rain falling

and all those free weekend cell phone minutes just begging to be used

up.

Gridlock is good for Burbank in so many wonderful ways. It allows

local residents the opportunity to be exposed to exciting new styles

of music they normally would never listen to when cars with expensive

stereo systems are stopped in front of their homes, waiting for the

lights to change. Why, just the other day I heard this little gem of

wisdom come wafting into my home from one such vehicle -- “Smoke or

be smoked, [expletive.]” Truly words to live by. I might have it

embroidered on a pillow.

Additionally, vast employment opportunities will soon be available

in the field of street vending. Just think, you won’t ever have to

leave your car and delicious fruits, nuts, flowers, illegal

substances and even balloon action figures will be just an arm’s

length away.

And finally, economic and cultural benefits aside, the true beauty

of gridlock in Burbank is the brotherhood (or sisterhood, if you

prefer) that is being created by this noble endeavor. No longer will

we be nameless, faceless commuters zooming around madly from place to

place. We will become “the locked generation.” Thank you Burbank for

bringing our community together in such a unique and clever fashion

and for making us stop, and stop, and stop, and stop, and stop and

smell the roses.

RICHARD J. TAFILAW

Burbank

Lighten up on the left-turn lights

Has anyone else noticed the new stoplights put up at some of our

major intersections in Burbank lately? The ones that feature

left-hand turning arrows at Buena Vista Street and Burbank Boulevard,

as well as Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, are not

servicing the city very well. Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind

-- traffic in Burbank has slowed down to a crawl.

I’m not sure why our traffic engineers think that the installation

of longer lights will help traffic move smoother through Burbank. It

does just the opposite by backing traffic up so that one sometimes

has to wait two or three cycles of a stoplight in order to get

through. And we have a lot of traffic to move in Burbank, with all

the new shopping centers added in the last few years.

Seven years ago, one could drive in almost any direction in

Burbank and find synchronized stoplights that kept traffic moving in

an efficient manner. Now, however, most of those synchronized lights

are long gone, replaced with much longer lights that keep cars idling

needlessly while polluting our city and wasting expensive gasoline.

May I propose a solution? We can eliminate stagnant traffic by

synchronizing our stoplights again like they used to be. We can also

shorten up the timing of lights on minor cross streets that

needlessly hold up traffic on major ones when there are no cars or

pedestrians needing to cross. Let’s put sensors there so that the

major thoroughfares can stay moving.

I am not against safety. On the contrary, I am for the safety of

breathing cleaner air. It is a known fact that cars pollute less when

they are moving efficiently, as opposed to when stop-and-go patterns

are imposed. Besides, we get enough pollution from the jets at the

airport. As for the left-hand turn arrows, do we really need them? I

believe Burbank residents can safely turn left without them. We’ve

been doing it for years.

WILL RAY

Burbank


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