Dear 100 Hour Board,
I am from Plano, Texas, where the traffic lights are coordinated so that if you leave an intersection when the light turns green (as opposed to it already being green when you get there), all the lights you come to afterward on that road will be green. Has Provo ever considered something like this? I'm tired of stopping at virtually every red light on University Parkway. Also, if you have any idea, why is the light on westbound University Parkway at 800 E. always red when I get there, regardless of what the traffic lights before it were like?
The Provo/Orem area has experienced considerable growth in the last decade, thanks in part to two large and growing universities and a number of start-up companies based in the area. Unfortunately, much of the cities' infrastructures have lagged behind this growth. Roads are probably the best example of this shortcoming. In fact, prior to the 2000 Winter Olympics, the entire interstate system in the state of Utah was in need of improvement. Traffic light timing has long been one of my biggest pet peeves with Provo and Orem because I took it for granted when I lived in other areas. Have you ever noticed that most traffic lights in the Utah Valley don't have turning signals? And many of the lights that do have turn signals don't use them. That's why only three people can get through on the yellow at the end of each cycle at many intersections.
Anyway, pardon my tirade. The real reason Provo and Orem haven't reworked their traffic light system is because they will have to bring in a traffic expert and do some serious studies on traffic flow to determine how the lights should be set up. It will be fairly complicated, because the analysts will have to take into account a lot of pedestrial traffic in many places, as well as vehicle flow. On University, all the lights will usually cooperate with you late at night because there aren't other cars tripping the signals. But if any other cars are coming the other direction, they screw it up. At some point the two cities will have to rework all of the major intersections, but for now you'll just have to be patient.
- de novo -