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A newly-discovered peeve

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I discovered today a new peeve: people who don't know how to drive at the speed of the timed lights.

It's no secret that I hate traffic. I really loathe commuting. I hate the "transmission cost" of my time when it comes to going from one place to the next, especially in traffic. One of the nice things about being a student was that I could pretty much walk everywhere in Salem that I needed to get to on a regular basis; I didn't have to drive (except to leave Salem.)

So I was running some errands in far-off places in Salem today and I had to drive. I was coming back through downtown and I got stuck behind a driver in a nice BMW who wanted to go about 25 miles per hour, despite the fact that the lights are timed at about 30. (Don't ask what the speed limit is, I really don't know.)

Let me ask you this. Does it make sense to go 25 miles per hour and eventually hit a red light (thereby having to idle your car while waiting for the light to change?) or does it make sense to go 30 miles per hour and not have to slow down (or speed up) and maximize the efficiency of both your car and your time? That was a rhetorical question, by the way. If you opt for "red light", you probably aren't one of my two regular readers.

My suggestion is this. We need an informational campaign from the federal, state, and local departments of transportation. Let people know where the lights are timed. Let people know what the timing speed is. People will be able to move through faster and smoother, fuel economies will go up, and wasted time will go down. Everyone wins!

Or... you could sit at a red light for no good reason.

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