The mention of turn signals inspires a lot of passion. I know because you sent lots of letters and emails and reached out on social media after reading my column about confusing right- and left-turn lights.
What’s clear is that we’re all tired of wasting time and gas sitting at red lights when there’s no traffic at the intersection.
Set us free, already!
I got several suggestions from readers after my rant for how we could fix the problem in Charlotte. Here are two worth discussing:
“With regard to waiting for red lights, I think it should be allowed that if you come to an intersection and the light is red but the intersection is clear of traffic, you stop for the red light and then go ahead on, just like at a stop sign.
“Many stop lights seem to be controlled by sensors and it is really bothersome when I approach one, particularly out in the middle of nowhere, and it turns red and there is no other traffic. Again, I think it should be allowed that you stop, check for traffic and if everything is clear then go on, just like at a stop sign.”
David Morris, Davidson
Well said. Here’s another suggestion:
“The answer to your question about how to stop wasting time at red lights with no traffic is simple – demand lights.
“I lived in Fremont, Calif., for 2 years – never sat at a red light at an empty intersection. Lights turn for approaching traffic. Because the lights change according to traffic rather than by timing, you rarely wait long at a red light. Guess what? No red light runners – never saw one in the 2 years I was there. The only downside I heard about were a few intersections that apparently didn’t detect motorcycles so they were stuck at a red light with no cross traffic.
They also have metering lights for traffic entering the freeways during heavy use times – works great, no clumping of traffic on the freeway to accommodate mergers.”
Ellen Siegler, Charlotte
Great suggestion. Sounds like she’s describing “smart” traffic lights. Read more on this here.