Dear TxDOT, Please Fix the Stop Lights at I-35 and Adams
I feel like I'm a pretty patient man, but the wait time at the red lights on the overpass at I-35 and West Adams/Airport is testing my patience daily.
Maybe I'm getting to be that old man that likes to scream at the kids "stay off my lawn", but the more I sit at the lights on the overpass of I-35 and West Adams/Airport, the more I feel like I'm losing my ability to wait it out.
The studios here at US105 are just off that exit, so I have found myself hitting those lights pretty frequently over the last year and a half. No matter which way I'm going, the wait at those red lights is ridiculously too long.
Driving south and exiting the Adams/Airport offramp and getting to the light just as it turns red can result in a long wait for the green. If I'm turning east and heading into Downtown, it also means that I'll be stuck at the light at the other end as well. They just don't time up properly.
If you've ever been at these stop lights, you know that you'll sit there for an unusually long time before the light turns green. A lot of the time you won't even see other cars moving at other portions of the intersection. It seems like everyone is waiting for the green light.
So I looked into what the normal wait time is at red lights and found some interesting info. The National Association of City Transportation Officials says the normal wait time at a red light is 60-90 seconds. That doesn't seem like a long time unless it's close to 100 degrees outside and the AC in your car isn't working properly so you have to roll down the windows just to avoid being in a four-wheel oven.
An article from Best Life reports that a person will spend and average of 75 seconds at a red light. AAA says that the average American will spend 17,600 minutes behind the wheel going from point A to point B each year. So according to the math, that's 3,520 minutes sitting at red lights each year, or 58.6 hours every 365 days. I can go on about how much time is spent waiting for the green light, but I think you get the point.
It just seems like that particular intersection/overpass is just longer than 60-90 seconds and the lights don't seem to allow you to drive through if you're turning East or West off I-35.
Cody Weems with the City of Temple tells us that the lights are controlled by TxDOT.
"Basically, any traffic signal that is on or intersects an interstate, state highway or farm-to-market road is installed, operated or maintained by TxDOT," Cody said.
(An earlier version of this story mentioned the City of Temple controlling these lights. We have since been informed that is not the case.)
I feel like the TxDOT has to have planned the timing properly, right? But then I find myself waiting forever and there's always this thought in the back of my mind - what if they didn't?
Have you ever avoided the same pothole over and over again and thought, "why doesn't the city ever fix this?" Maybe it's because no one from the city ever drives down that street so they don't know that pothole is even there. That's what I'm starting to think about these particular red lights. Maybe they never drive through that intersection so they just don't know.
Or maybe I'm just that old man who's lost his patience.