COMMUNITY COMMENTARY:

Recently, I was coming home on the freeway and noticed there had been traffic signals installed across all three lanes of the freeway (“Meters going in on the 210,” Jan. 30). This appalled me.

It set me to thinking. First I want to take up the “speed bump” subject.

I know everyone is familiar with speed bumps. They slow you down. Mostly, they slow down the people who drive slow anyway, and the Fire Department.

The people who think putting a speed bump every 100 or 200 feet is a good idea are wrong. It is not a good idea. It’s stupid.

First, these speed bumps will not slow down a drunken driver who doesn’t care. If someone is in a big hurry, it doesn’t slow them down either.

These obstacles are traffic jams caused by design. They cause increased pollution in the residential neighborhoods caused by the constant slowing and acceleration of the vehicles. The overall value of these is negative because they don’t work. They do create traffic congestion.

Next let me mention stop signs. There was a commercial that showed a crew planting a stop sign about every 50 feet. It was funny but too close to the truth to be enjoyable.

Today, I took the odometer reading as I approached a stop sign — stop sign No. 1. The trip mileage was 171.1. By the time I was at Stop sign No. 7, my mileage was 171.8. So the average was an “all-way stop” every one-tenth of a mile. This is ridiculous.

Being somewhat of a rebel, while I don’t recommend this and never would do it, I’ve wanted to take a truck and go down the street and pull about two-thirds of these unnecessary traffic barriers up.

What these all-way stop signs do is to slow traffic to a crawl and generate undeserved income to the local government. I’ve personally observed squad cars and motorcycle cops parked just up the side streets waiting to prey on the local mother driving down the street.

Now, let me address the worst offender. Traffic signals, red lights, across all lanes of a freeway that will stop — I do mean completely stop — all the flow of traffic.

Here is a little history, as I understand it, to give you some background on why this idea is insane.

I may not have every detail accurately, but here is the basic idea. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill to create a national highway system. It seemed there was not a good enough system in place to get the military from one side of country to the other. So to solve this problem, the interstate freeways were started.

After enough years of intense construction passed, man could actually drive from one side of the country to the other, without having to stop for a stop sign or stop light. It was just like in the very old days before there were stop signs at too many intersections and traffic lights at too many intersections.

I’m not against stop signs and traffic signals. I do believe they are necessary where traffic flows cross each other.

Where there is only a merge of traffic onto the freeway, to stop traffic, only serves to further congest and extend the time vehicles are running.

These vehicles are spewing out pollution and motorists have to sit needlessly.

Has anyone noticed an improvement in traffic congestion since they put traffic signals at the entrance of freeway on ramps? I can answer the obvious, no.

But to continue to install them when they don’t work speaks of criminal rip-off of the public.

Someone’s making money off these continued installations of expensive hardware. So in the near future, the “traffic engineers” will have reduced the freeways to parking lots by design.

The ride to and from anywhere will take longer. Productive time will be wasted. Four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline will burn in hundreds or even thousands of vehicles with no forward motion taking place and the atmosphere will be a little worse off.

So my fellow American, when you get a chance to speak to one of your great leaders, a political figure, who hopefully will listen, tell them to remove the traffic lights and stop the stop sign epidemic.


 CARL WATTS is a Tujunga resident.

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