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Dear Palo Alto

Dear City of Palo Alto,

Thanks to your incompetence or laziness, it took me over an hour to drive from Sunnyvale to downtown Palo Alto. From the moment I crossed into Palo Alto to the moment I reached downtown proper, Every goddamn light was flashing red!! That meant that every doofus had to stop, and do the "is it my turn yet" at every friggin' intersection!!

You had no police out to direct traffic, and relieve congestion, as far as I could tell. I saw a couple patrol cars, and they just continued on their merry way to a date with the donut shop. What were you thinking! At least the railroad crossings worked, but they aren't maintained by you.

If you like your tax base (businesses), you might want to revisit your archaic and assinine traffic policies.

No love,


P.S.: Even if I'd taken the train, I would have been risking my life to cross the street to get to work.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
Policy? Traffic lights flashing red (therefore treat them as a stop sign) generally means that the lights themselves have power, but the controllers either don't, or can't tell the lights what they should be doing. There's probably a team in a control center somewhere in full-out panic mode trying to restore service.

While it would be NICE to have cops out directing traffic -- and they normally do if it's only half a dozen intersections or less -- if it's a city-wide problem there's not much the cops can do. Having a cop direct traffic at one intersection isn't going to make much difference if the next six you come to are also flashing red.

MAYBE the underlying outage was the fault of the City or one of their employees. But I don't know that, and it doesn't sound like you do. It's more likely to be a utility (PG&E or SBC) problem. And the only other city policy option is for the lights to simply go dark entirely.

Jan. 11th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yea, commuting down University this morning was a PITA, but the flashing lights mean the stop lights turn into stop signs. No danger, just slower progress, and a longer commute.
Jan. 11th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
Most people forget how to handle those with multiple lanes in each direction. Middlefield and Alma were a mess.
Jan. 11th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
At least they were flashing red. That gives people a clue something is wrong. The other morning, all the traffic lights from downtown San Jose to Santa Clara were just plain dark, with no traffic control. And folks, not seeing ANY lights, were just treating it as an uncontrolled intersection, barrelling through.
Jan. 12th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
*shudder* That is frightening!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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