Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


It's Official: Traffic Lights in This City Suck!

Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

I'm one of those paranoid, overly dramatic people who convince themselves that the entire world is out to get them. A lot of my paranoid delusions revolve around driving, of course: that dude slowed down just to piss me off! Every time I change lanes traffic gets worse! (Also known as the "Office Space" rule.) These lights are timed badly just to slow me down!

Turns out, that last one might not just be all in my head. In today's L.A. Times, Steve Hymon discovers that whacked-out, unsynchronized traffic lights are more often the norm than the anomaly in this city:

If you believe that traffic signals near you aren't synchronized as well as they should be, you're probably right. Relatively few cities in the region have state-of-the-art technology when it comes to traffic signals, according to several transportation engineers I spoke with recently. Even the city of Los Angeles -- the widely acknowledged leader in advanced traffic signals -- is undergoing a $150-million upgrade to its lights.

Both L.A. and Orange counties are making big pushes to help dozens of cities get their lights in sync, with the emphasis on big arterials that cross cities. The O.C., for example, is syncing up Euclid Street, which in 15 miles crosses six cities and four freeways.

Good news, I guess -- but then again, it's simply unacceptable that it would take so long to correct such a simple & easily identifiable problem such as light synchronization. In this day and age, when computers can do EVERYTHING, why can't somebody notice that I've been sitting at this god-forsaken stop light in Burbank for five minutes now and not a single car has come through the intersection???The problem, of course, is time and money (story of my life). Another reason includes the fear that cut-through traffic might affect local neighborhoods, which, frankly, makes no sense to me whatsoever. Hymon's article also handily illustrates the whole "right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, probably because said hands are stuck in TRAFFIC" problem this city still has to deal with :
Support for LAist comes from
"Pasadena City Councilman Sid Tyler said he agreed that the streets in his district aren't very well timed, but he wasn't sure why it has taken so long to fix the problem. "I don't understand it," Tyler said Friday. "I don't know what the answer is. I share your frustration. I'm sorry I can't help you.""

Most Read