Update: Last week I moaned about unsynchronized traffic lights in Fresno, and some readers joined me here on the Beehive and on Facebook. Other commenters mentioned the new Shaw Avenue synchronized plan. In this story, KVPR’s Ezra Romero takes a look at the project.
In the latest ambitious and costly assault on gridlock, Los Angeles has synchronized every one of its 4,500 traffic signals across 469 square miles — the first major metropolis in the world to do so, officials said — raising the almost fantastical prospect, in theory, of driving Western Avenue from the Hollywood Hills to the San Pedro waterfront without stopping once.
But with the number of cars on the road here continuing to rise (and almost seven million commuters already on the road each day during the rush in the metro area), even the system’s boosters admit that it may not be enough to prevent gridlock from growing worse.
Even though synchronized lights might not be a fix-all, I can only dream of Fresno giving it a try. (Considering that the L.A. system cost $400 million, I’m not holding my breath.) There are two stretches of road in which I find myself most often lurching from one red light to the next:
Shaw Avenue in front of Fashion Fair. I have expressed at various times of my life a remarkable degree of hostility toward the traffic signal at N. Angus St. It’s like continually bumping into an ex-friend I hate to see. I stop almost every time to offer a strained hello.
Van Ness Avenue downtown. It’s as if the stretch between Ventura Street and Stanislaus Street is “anti-synchronized,” purposefully making cars stop at each and every light. Ah, the time I’ve wasted, especially at night on empty streets, waiting for each green.