This is a contribution to a string of comments regarding traffic lights in the Regional and Urban Design Committee of the AIAKnowledgeNet.
A traffic light is a symptom of a much greater disease in my opinion.
An urban composition is created with a street system euphemistically called a public right-of-way. The result is hardly a symphony. I’m not surprised that the term “quality of life” is gaining traction as the public begins to recognize that protection of its welfare involves more than a ribbon of sidewalk adjacent to parking and a torrent of traffic in the city it calls home.
This result represents a collision of opinion related to city design. Opinion began with a belief that a land owner had every right and a neighbor’s right did not extend beyond his property line. A tenant had no rights and the Reform Movement began as we left the farm to live in cities with no public sanitation; safety; or light, air, and ventilation. Modest improvements were made but the individual prevailed and the population was thrown into the street with a sidewalk as its companion.I’m not suggesting that the problem can be solved in many lifetimes. It is simply too vast. I’m simply pondering the role of a traffic light in the cities we have created.