Columbia, SC — Leaving the Assembly Street post office recently, I decided to see how long it takes for that lazy traffic light at Blanding and Assembly streets to change. The cycle is four minutes, only 10 seconds of which signals green for people heading west on Blanding or exiting the post office.
I understand the thinking that led to long-duration green signals for people traveling on Bull, Assembly and Taylor streets during rush hour: Lots of people need to get into or out of the city, so let the traffic flow — and to heck with safety considerations. I see no reason those of us on the side streets must sit, engines idling, for almost four minutes, gazing at empty thruways, at night and on weekends. Rosewood should be added to the list.
Besides trying the patience of side-street drivers, those long signal times also create race tracks; people speed up to make sure they get through the next green light before it changes.
One of the worst situations is for drivers heading north on Assembly and trying to turn left onto Taylor Street. High speed south-bound cars keep popping up out of that low place in front of the post office. We need some serious re-engineering. Except possibly during rush hours, there is no reason for any light to stay green longer than 30 seconds. And for side streets, 10 seconds is plenty time to allow the one or two cars to turn.
Darryl K. Williams