LOS ANGELES, CA – You think traffic’s bad here in Houston? Try L.A.
Next to D.C., it’s the worst spot in America.
It literally takes 20 minutes to drive five miles there. Well, it used to.
Someone in La-La-Land had the bright idea to sync up all 4400 of their traffic lights to cut down on congestion. It took 30 years and $400 million to do it, but thanks to sensors and cameras that watch and speed up lights or slow them down with traffic flow, that same five-mile trip now takes just 17.2 minutes.
That leaves L.A. drivers almost 8 and half minutes an hour to do something else. More Botox, anyone?!
The New York Times says L.A.’s the first major city in the world to sync their lights. But Alvin Wright with the City of Houston says, ‘not so fast!’
“Ya’ll are making a big deal of this,’ says Wright, who works in the city’s Public Works & Engineering department. ‘I’m saying we do this every day… Downtown is probably one the best places you can see it. If you’re at one end of downtown, you can see the lights progressively change to green as (you drive) through.”
Bill White made that happen when he was mayor, but what about other slow spots around town like the one at Beechnut and Beltway 8?
“If an average motorist believes they can go from one destination to another without encountering any stop lights whatsoever,’ says Wright, ‘that’s just not realistic.”
You know — Alvin’s right. He suggests finding alternate routes to avoid traffic hotspots and flexing your schedule so you’re not out during rush hours.
Back in L.A., the mayor tweeted that syncing all of L.A.’s traffic signals reduces nearly one metric ton of pollution annually. If our Mayor Parker is serious about making Houston one of the greenest cities in the country, then it’s time to get all 2446 of ‘our’ intersections in sync.
If you come across an out-of-sync light around town, contact the city by calling 3-1-1.