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    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    Lagging Left

    Last week I was driving to my MCAT review course and I noticed a phenomenon. The light turned green for both sides of the street. Cars moved through, then the lights turned yellow and red. Only then did the green turn arrow light up, and because all cars had already turned, it quickly turned yellow, red, and my side turned green.

    Amazing! I had heard about this before when people in Provo started talking about adopting a new intersection pattern to deal with congestion.

    Now, I must say, traffic in Provo is horrible for its size of town. The intersections were laid out in moronic fashion, and the most dangerous intersections have no protected left turn (endangering drivers and pedestrians since many many students in this college town do not drive).

    Lagging left intersections used to be the norm until WW2. I don't remember why they changed, but they did. Then cities in Arizona like Tucson began experimenting with a different way to make intersections safer and speed up traffic. Lagging left intersections aren't for everyone, but I do recommend that each city council look into them. Provo needs them at more intersections. The ones I've seen them on work great. Less time sitting at intersections equals more time for me, less congestion on the road, and less traffic accidents.

    Also check out this FAQ for Scottsdale, AZ. I especially like the second question. There is an intersection by my house that takes FOREVER, and I'm always contemplating jumping out of my car and hitting the pedestrian button.

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