One of my favorite parts of driving in San Diego was the traffic patterns and the way their traffic lights flow. If NYC could implement some of these it would make driving just a tad easier in a city full of crazy TLC drivers.
- Traffic lights that change for traffic – Between sensors in the streets and traffic cameras, the lights change when there are cars waiting and no one else is in sight.
Sitting at a light, and there’s no one coming in any direction is a real pain when driving around at 3AM…or even during the day…so when you pull up to the light, the sensors know you are there, and if there’s no traffic in any other direction, it’ll change the lights so that you can go.
The one downside to this method is when you are half a block away from a light that recently turned green, it may turn to red fairly quickly if cars are waiting to go in the other directions, leading you to have to wait long periods of times before the cycle comes back to you.
Despite this, I think the pros outweigh the cons.
- Alternating lights at a merge — During heavy traffic times (such as rush hour) merge lanes can be a real pain to navigate, between cars that just won’t give an inch, and others that are just not pushy enough to get in causing everyone behind them to get stuck.
The solution is simple enough: Add a red/green light at the merge point, which allows one or two cars per green light before switching lanes. While this sounds like it would slow things down, it actually makes the merge much simpler, and when people obey the lights traffic flow is much better.
A few places in NYC that can use this:
- Hugh L. Carey/Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance, where they merge right before the entrance
- Prospect Expressway: Exit 1 for Hamilton Avenue
- Brooklyn Bridge Exit to the BQE
The second of these ideas is fairly cheaper to implement, but both would help move NYC just a big faster.