Consider solar-powered traffic lights

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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If drivers had a preference, there would be no such things as red lights or four-way stops. Fortunately, both traffic mechanisms help provide greater safety on city streets — for drivers and pedestrians.

After about three weeks of being forced to abide by four-way stops along Main Street North, at both the Saskatchewan Street East and West intersections, the traffic lights became operable Wednesday.

Not only do four-way stops dog the flow of traffic in the city, but also they raise the ire of drivers who are forced to exercise extra patience they would not otherwise be expected to show.

And don’t forget that the Moose Jaw Fire Department’s Headquarters station is located on the eastern flank of Main Street — directly between Saskatchewan Street East and West. Any time fire crews had to leave the station and attend a call, the lines of traffic from any direction had the potential to expand.

This was not the first time in 2014 Moose Jaw traffic lights have been non-operable and a four-way stop had to be temporarily put in place.

Following the Jubilee Block fire in mid-March, the lights at the intersection of High Street West and First Avenue were out and replaced by a four-way stop for approximately a month.

Our infrastructure is crumbling, that, of course, is an overstatement. Included in that crumbling are traffic lights that are past their prime.

That’s why Coun. Patrick Boyle’s notice of motion to city council on Monday should be welcomed.

In a city that embraces the status quo, Boyle’s idea for solar-powered traffic lights is anything but. He will present the motion for solar-powered traffic lights to be installed at the intersection of 11th Avenue Northwest and Thatcher Drive at the next city council meeting — July 14.

At this time it is unknown what the cost of solar-powered traffic lights would be to taxpayers. Unless the initial estimate is an exceptionally large number, council should at least entertain Boyle’s motion.

In the short-term, solar-powered traffic lights might not be the best option because of the costs associated with converting a traffic signal into solar-powered one. However, when looking long-term, solar-powered traffic lights will not only save the city money, it will save taxpayers money.

All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Fire Department, Times-Herald

Geographic location: High Street West, Moose Jaw, First Avenue 11th Avenue Northwest

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