EPA and traffic signal timing


This letter appeared in the Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) on 26 September 2000.

This item may be cited as M. R. Franks, Letter to the Editor: EPA and traffic signal timing, Baton Rouge Advocate, September 26, 2000, at 8B.

Copyright © 2000, M. R. Franks

Dear Editor:

I'm pleased to learn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evidently agrees with me on the timing of Baton Rouge traffic lights.

Mr. Greg Cooke, regional administrator for the EPA, has written me as follows: "Your letter recommended using traffic signals and operations to help reduce air pollution in the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We agree with you that traffic signal timing can be used as a method to reduce idle emissions from vehicles in an effort to improve air quality. Idle emissions from vehicles do contribute to the production of ozone. Many areas in the nation are using signal timing in an effort to achieve air quality benefits as well as improve the flow of traffic. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports traffic signal improvements as a transportation control measure as a general matter. Currently, the Baton Rouge area is classified as a serious nonattainment area for not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone."

The EPA evidently sides with my position that the sluggish timing of traffic lights in Baton Rouge is a major cause of increased traffic congestion and pollution. Alas, the public works establishment disagrees with me and the EPA. Obviously, there's more money to be made widening streets than re-timing the slow traffic lights that cause much of the very congestion used to justify street widening projects. If simple re-timing can alleviate the congestion and pollution at little or no cost to the taxpayer, there'll be fewer lucrative paving contracts to go around. No wonder the public works industry in Baton Rouge is not interested in any easy solutions.

M. R. Franks
2 Swan St.
Baton Rouge

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Copyright 2002 by M. R. Franks - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED