In my Tuesday post, I mentioned that I-35 was completely closed down in the city of Temple, Texas, last Sunday morning. The point of that post was thankfulness for God’s protection. This morning, I mention it for a different reason.
Part of the reason it took us an hour and a half to get past the blockage and back onto the freeway at a point where traffic was flowing normally was the unwillingness or inability of the Temple Police Department to act. I didn’t see one policeman doing anything to help the situation.
Access roads are not designed to carry heavy traffic loads. Their normal usage is to allow the few cars using a given freeway exit to get to the next intersection. Arriving at that intersection, drivers will be regulated in either crossing it or turning by traffic lights or by stop signs. This doesn’t put an onerous burden on anyone when the traffic flow is normal.
When all the traffic which normally moves through the area at 65 to 75 miles an hour is diverted on the access roads, however, the system breaks down. Traffic lights are set to accommodate the normal volume of traffic. They stay green long enough for a few cars to move through, and then they turn red while a few cars on the cross street move through.
When several thousand cars are backed up waiting for the light to cycle, this setup does not work well. Designed for normal traffic flow, the light only allows a few of the thousands of cars through before turning red to allow cross traffic to flow. Meanwhile the heavy load of traffic inches ahead a few car-lengths at a time.
The police department should have acted to change this. They should have called in as many off-duty, part-time, and volunteer personnel as necessary to man the lights and manually control them to allow many times as much access-road traffic to get through each cycle as normal.
The backup in traffic could not have been avoided. When an accident closes a freeway, there will always be a problem. However, a little prudent action on the part of the police could have made the delay maybe a half hour instead of an hour and a half.
What frustrations have you experienced with such traffic delays?
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