Storm shows we don't need all those traffic lights

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August 30, 2011

An unexpected but useful lesson from Hurricane Irene is that we have lots of traffic lights in the Baltimore area that we really don't need. At many intersections where the lights were not working, people proceeded carefully and courteously and the traffic continued to flow, slowly but fairly steadily. No crashes, no horrendous delays. Let's build on this experience to substitute traffic circles ("roundabouts") in many more places where we now have annoying and pointless traffic lights.

Let's stop wasting our time and expensive fuel running our engines in the middle of the day at some secondary road intersection while waiting for nonexistent crossing traffic to go by. Let's stop paying for the maintenance and repair of the lights and the lines that are so prone to fail.

Roundabouts won't work everywhere, no doubt — places with too little room, too much traffic etc. But we've learned how to negotiate the few that do exist in Towson and other areas, and we know the benefits: we slow a bit and stay alert, but we keep moving, save money, and cut down on air pollution to boot. Seems like a win-win-win situation that we can all get behind.

Bradley E. Alger, Baltimore

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