Northwest NEWS

July 22, 2002

Editorial

There's room for improvement at intersection

So let's talk about the traffic control on the 124th St bridge. On Friday, July 11, I hit the traffic backup on Novelty Hill at 5:10 p.m.  I inched slowly across the 11 miles of valley road.
   At around 5:20 p.m. I was close enough to the intersection with the highway to watch the traffic officer do his job.
   First he completely cleared the traffic northbound and then completely cleared the traffic southbound.
   Now imagine my surprise and anger when instead of letting the eastbound traffic have "their turn," the officer again completely cleared the northbound traffic (about three cars) before moving to the eastbound traffic! As I took my turn through the intersection at 5:28 p.m., I informed the officer that our traffic was backed up onto the hill. He informed me that "there's nothing I can do about that." 
   Actually Officer, I can suggest two different ways to move traffic though that intersection that would be an improvement on your method.
   1)  Clear the traffic in a consistent pattern north, south, east. Every time you let an extra two or three cars through out of turn, the heavier traffic suffers and it builds up over time.
   2)  Clear the traffic with a focus on heavy load direction. In the evenings, clear north, east, south and then east again before going back to the northbound traffic. This will double the volume of the heavier eastbound traffic through the intersection and get us home sooner.
   And another thing that will help avoid the traffic backing up would be if the officer would actually direct traffic when he is posted at the intersection.
   On the same day, my husband was about 10 minutes ahead of me in the same traffic. He too was backed up onto Novelty Hill. When he reached the intersection with the highway at 5:10 p.m., the traffic officer was on the side of the road talking on the cell phone. He was not directing traffic.
   North and southbound traffic were moving along with no backup. After a few minutes my husband actually had to honk at the officer to get him into the intersection to direct the traffic.
   I'd say that there is room for improvement here.
   Mary Booher, Duvall