I'm glad to see in this morning's paper that the officials from the City of Erie are talking with the Leaders of Millcreek. That makes a lot of sense. So, rather than forcing a merger between the two at this stage, let's begin finding ways to work together to make the region a better place to live. I support such cooperation and I still think that Lawrence Park and Wesleyville need to be included in the dialogue.
Now, as this all moves forward, one of the issues that the City of Erie still needs to address is its traffic woes. Years ago, the City invested lots of money into a study and into the subsequent installation of hundreds of "pressure pads" at just about every intersection in the City. The "pressure pad" idea is based on the notion that, if a vehicle pulls up to the pad, the light will sense the presence of that vehicle and turn the light green.
While this concept may have worked for Erie in the past, when there were fewer cars, it clearly no longer works today. First of all, it's based on the idea that you have to stop a car before you allow a car to pass, and that idea is inherently flawed. The reason they did this in the first place is because Old School Erieites complained about sitting at a red light when there was no opposing traffic. So, to solve that problem, they came up with the pressure pad idea.
But there are far too many vehicles in Erie for such a patchwork approach to continue. For example, on Wednesday of this week, I had to drive into the City. It was "go a block, stop...go a block, stop...go a block, stop..." the entire time. I'm not exaggerating. It was infuriating.
Then, yesterday, I drove from my mom and dad's on the lower East Side to my home in Millcreek. I encountered 15 lights and "made" only two of them. It sucked. It makes me want to avoid going into the City of Erie at all costs. I feel like my life is being sucked out of me as I sit at all those lights.
The best way to solve this issue is for the Mayor and City Council to declare "Rights of Way in the City of Erie" and to synchronize the lights along those routes. Pick 'em: 12th Street, 26th Street, 38th Street for east/west traffic; East Avenue, Parade, State, Peach, Liberty for north/south traffic.
People would alter their driving patterns to adjust to the Rights of Way, because they would know that as soon as they got onto one of those routes, it would be fairly smooth sailing. Lots of green lights in the City of Erie! Can you imagine it?
However, as it stands today, drivers want to take all kinds of shortcuts to avoid routes like 12th Street, because they know they will sit at light after light all the way from East Avenue to Pittsburgh Avenue. With this scenario, we have a situation where these cars are sitting on the "pressure pads" at such ridiculously minor intersections as 12th and Wayne---stopping 100 cars so that a single car can enter 12th street. It's insane and no way for a City that is trying to attract new people and new business to behave.
And if there is a school on the Right of Way, the lights should only be active during those times when students are coming to or leaving school. Otherwise, the lights should be green.
So, we need to find a way to create more green lights in the City of Erie. I've traveled all over the US and I've never seen so many red lights in my entire life. In fact, people in other cities refer to these lights as "traffic lights," whereas in Erie, people tend to refer to them as "red lights."
How about that?
Anyway, this has been a problem for some time and it needs to be addressed. No more studies, no more bullshit. Instead, the leaders need to step up, identify the Rights of Way, and synchronize the lights so that traffic can move across town. Cars might have to sit for a while to access the Rights of Way, but the payoff will be worth it.
Believe it or not, the free movement of traffic is a good thing for a city, not a bad thing. We want newcomers to be able to have free and easy access to all things Erie; we don't want them to be sitting at light after light saying, "What the hell is going on in this town?"
That's all I have for today.