Motorist questions timing of city stoplights
One of the most common complaints received by Getting There is that the stoplights in Baltimore are poorly synchronized. Reader Jim Pappas makes that case with an impressive degree of specificity:
I recently changed routes to driving south on Charles Street from the Beltway to Johns Hopkins, to take my son to a summer camp for three weeks.
The timing of the lights on Charles Street during the morning rush hour is awful. Most mornings I have caught every single light on my way south, including the small intersections at St Dunstan’s Road, Friends School, and Blythewood Rd. The only ones that are coordinated are the two at Wyndhurst Rd / St. Alban’s Way and Homeland Avenue, which change together as a single intersection.
As a matter of fact, my son I laugh as we watch the light at Charles and Cold Spring Lane turn green and the one at Overhill Road, about 200 feet south, turn red in about 5 seconds every single day, despite the fact that there are no cars at the intersection to trip the sensors, if there are any.So what do you say, city of Baltimore? Is Pappas dreaming this stuff up or does he have a valid complaint?
When I was growing up and lived off North Charles Street and regularly drove downtown with my father during rush hour, the lights were perfectly timed to let you drive at about 30 – 35 miles per hour and only hit one or two red lights all the way down town. I am not kidding, one could drive from Northern Parkway and Charles to either Light and Pratt or Liberty and Pratt and hit one or two red lights.
Within about the last two years there were several articles printed in The Sun about the new computerized traffic light system being implemented in Baltimore city. I don’t know what the status of the system is, but Henry Barnes’ 1953 system was working better in the 60s and 70s (with a much larger population) than the new system works today.
So my question is, what is the status of the computerized system and what is the City’s excuse for its poor performance?