The story about the Camino del Rio traffic (Herald, Nov. 21) was long on Colorado Department of Transportation statistics, but short on local drivers’ experiences. Changing the turn signals at the Walmart intersection has most certainly cut down on accidents there. No one would question the need for improvement there. But why were unneeded “improvements” made along the rest of the highway?
I believe, initially, it was touted as an improvement to traffic flow. Wasn’t it stated early on that with the traffic lights synced in this manner, one could drive from one end of town to the other with fewer stops? Unfortunately, the absurd way the lights now work has created only confusion and danger for drivers.
Nowhere in the article does CDOT or the city acknowledge the countless near misses at every intersection with the blinking yellow lights. This is not a problem just on South Camino del Rio. Anyone who regularly drives up and down North Main Avenue the past year has seen a well-intentioned driver nearly hit by making what would be a normal left hand turn were it not for these lights.
A few months ago, I drove through a town back east that had these same yellow blinking left turn lights. Next to the light was a sign that said something like, “Oncoming traffic may not be in sync.” Although the wording is a little confusing, at least it gives the driver some idea that the turn he or she is about to make might need a little thought beforehand. But it’s also reasonable to question how intelligent or safe it is to need a sign to explain a traffic signal.
I would much prefer having to stop at a traffic light or two on my way through town than have someone else injured or killed because of these lights. Residents of Durango should not have to warn out-of-town visitors how the stop lights work (or don’t work.)