[Image by noxipoo via flickr]
So who should decide how to time traffic lights—people at the local level who are familiar with Spokane streets, or voters statewide?
It’s the latter, if Tim Eyman has his way with I-985. Besides opening Westside carpool lanes to single occupancy vehicles—thus rewarding people who don’t carpool, use transit, or perhaps even (gasp) bike to work—and a bevy of other micromanagement traffic changes, I-985 reaches to the local level and tells cities to synchronize their traffic lights.
Question is, who are they to be synchronized for? One has to assume it will be motorists, not cyclists. Sigh.
One of the sweetest little rides in downtown Spokane is the stretch of West First from Lincoln to Washington. With the right traffic flow, not too many cars, and a combination of peddling midblock at around 14-17 mph and coasting until each light turns green and any cars in front of you get moving, it’s possible to run that whole stretch without stopping at a light.
Drivers, on the other hand, stop and start, stop and start, because they can’t seem to resist the all-American urge to hit the gas and try to get up to 25 before hitting the brakes and dropping to zero, then doing it all over again in the next block. (Hypermilers, where are you when we need you?)
What’s your favorite Spokane stretch for traffic light timing, whether you’re driving or biking? And what will Tim Eyman’s I-985 do to muck it up?
As for the rest of the initiative, guess what—Tim dedicates more money to road building while opposing its use for park and ride lots, or bike paths or buses or transit—all things that would REALLY reduce congestion. And the money comes out of sales tax revenue that’s already being used for little things like school funding. Deep sigh.