A new direction?
Winchester flunks Engineering 101
By Michael Shea
While I suspect that additional traffic in Winchester was in part due to the glorious last gasp of summer, the condition demonstrated that government — at every level — is subject to the law of unintended consequences. Namely, by making Braddock and Cameron two-way, what was once a one-minute trip from Piccadilly to Handley Boulevard, now takes no less than six minutes.
The timing of the lights is set to ensure each is red upon arrival. The lines of cars at each light were no less than 10 deep, and just turning off Braddock at Handley took two full cycles of the light at a minimum. None of this was because of any “confusion.” By cramming the same amount of cars from two lanes down to one, we get what any first-grader could have deduced: traffic jams.
Thanks, City Council — you’ve now guaranteed I will never go down to the historic district again. I gather I won’t be alone. More businesses will close, and the number of shuttered buildings will continue to increase.
Whatever you paid the traffic engineer to calculate that this madness would make traffic flow more freely, it was too much. Same number of cars plus fewer lanes never equal flowing traffic. Engineering 101. Time for a refund.
Instead, I suspect those council members voting for this will defend their decision, asking that we “give it time” to work, and that we, the driving public, who, while perfectly capable of navigating two-way streets in every other part of the city and county, must be seizing up with confusion the minute we turn onto Braddock. It’s the typical “we know best and you the public don’t” excuse we’re all getting tired of lately. Sorry, no sale.
Do everyone a favor — admit you goofed, pull up the striping, and restore the old signage. A costly lesson, but not nearly so costly as revenues lost to business transactions that will never take place because no one wants to fight the traffic downtown.
Remember the adage: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Braddock wasn’t “broke,” but it sure is now!
Michael Shea is a resident of Stephenson.
Open Forum, Winchester Star, November 10, 2009