Get Those Damn Stoplights Out of Town!!!

This week’s edition of Get Out of Town is going a slightly different route than in previous editions. After weeks of laying the smackdown on politicians, political sheep, and used car salesmen, this week I’m giving the boot to inanimate objects.
We live in a city that loves traffic lights. If there’s an intersection that once or twice a day has more than two cars pass through, well, dammit, there has to be a light. And not just any light – it’s got to be a fancy-pants system that knows what you’re going to do before you do. Or at least it’s supposed to work that way.
For a person like myself who has absolutely no patience, this is just maddening. It’s especially maddening since none of the lights in this town are timed together. It’s almost expected that I’m going to hit four, five, sometimes six red lights in a row.
First off, we need to get rid of the majority of those staggered green lights. You know, the type that give one side a green signal a minute or so before the other side can go. Way too often, particularly at that light on 14th and Cliff, there are less cars waiting at that first green, and absolutely nobody in the turn lane. So you sit…and sit and sit before you finally get to proceed.
We also need to dispose of what I like to call the McDonald’s lights. It seems like every single McDonald’s in this town has their very own stoplight, with the best examples at 26th Street and also the one on Louise Avenue that inexplicably has a light despite the fact that there are also lights on both intersections surrounding that one. It now takes longer to drive from 57th to 60th Streets on Louise than it does from 41st to 57th. There’s something wrong with that picture.
While we’re at it, there’s no need for the “First Lutheran” light ot 12th and Minnesota. The church side of the street is now curb and sidewalk; the other side rarely has any traffic. Why is this light still operating, particularly with lights also at 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 14th?
Another crowded set of lights occurs on east 10th street, between Hy-Vee and Lowell. There are four in that half-mile section. While the most unnecessary light in on 10th and Lowell, the light that is the most maddening is on 10th and Cleveland. Despite the fact that 10th is probably 50 times busier than Cleveland, the lights are equally timed. Actually, if you’re heading west on 10th, you have less time than the person on Cleveland as it’s another of those stupid staggered lights. C’mon, with the east side’s recent surge in retail, there is now a permanent backlog of traffic waiting to make it through this mess.
This is another topic that I could go on and on and on. Cade won’t let me, though, so let me invite everybody to comment on lights that need to be rammed by giant SUV’s. One more plea before I depart these premises. With the majority of downtown Sioux Falls closed on Sundays, would it be too hard for the city to turn the twenty million stoplights in the region, particularly those in the northern downtown area, to flashing lights. Try going to the Mad Rock Pub on a Sunday evening. By the time you make it through all of the deserted stoplights, the bar’s closed.


Anonymous said…
One of my continual rants. For 10+ years I've taken 12th from Marion Road to and from downtown for work. If I drive the speed limit or just under it, it seems I have to stop at approximately half the lights. This make absolutely no sense for one of the more heavily trafficked "commuter" routes, especially since our fine city fathers and mothers continue to ignore the need to provide additional east-west access other than funnelling people onto 41st Street or forcing you to drive two miles out of your way to find an east-west road.
Scott said…
12th street is definitely one of the prime offenders. There's no reason why these lights aren't timed.
Anonymous said…
what about those idiotic pedestrian-first, timed stoplights at 10th and Minnesota & 11th and Minnesota? there isn't even enough time to make a turn without getting your picture taken and a ticket in the mail.
Scott said…
It certainly shows the political clout of the city's biggest media company. Their employee's death was indeed tragic, but I don't see a similar rush for similar lights after other similar tragedies.

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