The Worst Traffic Lights in Victoria – Our Top Five
It might be fairly apparent now that we're fond of Top 5 Lists. This might, however, be the first time we've done a "Best of the Worst" list.
We all hate at least one traffic light in Victoria. It might be the timing on the light or the way the intersection is set up but it's there somewhere. We've just taken the time to put together a list of the five that we hate the most.
When someone speaks of a Loop around time, one is inclined to believe that such a word would mean one uninterrupted stretch of road where you can drive round and round town without having to stop. In most places, one would be correct.
Just not in Victoria
To begin, it's not a proper loop. It uses other roads to cheat its way into what would, perhaps from orbit, resemble a circular segment of roads.
The true crowd-pleaser, however, comes when you approach the traffic light... that is on the Loop... a word that usually would mean you have little to no worries about traffic lights.
But there it is. I understand *why* it's there. A school was built not so far from the intersection and we must keep our children safe. The real kicker, though, is that the light, which should by all means be functional during school hours, is always ON!
Why can't it turn into a flashing caution light at night? Why do I have to sit and stare at a red light for minutes at a time when there is zero traffic in any direction? And why, for the love of my wallet, would I get a ticket for turning left onto Mockingbird after sitting at a left turn light that won't turn green through THREE rotations of the lights?
While it's not the worst in Victoria, it certainly ranks in the top five with more than a few people here at the office.
I'm not sure what it is about this traffic light that makes it so awful. I mean, it's a three way stop. If you're coming down Salem, you can turn left or you can turn right. You can't really mess that up. There's a house across Navarro that should be a clear indicator that going forward is just a really bad idea.
It's no harder if you're coming down Navarro. You can turn in one direction or go straight. There's no way to confuse which way you can go because, again, the helpful traffic guard that so closely resembles a house (because it is) is there to help you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that turning in its direction is verboten.
So how is it that at least once a week, someone manages to forget where they need to be when they get to this light? There's a house straight ahead, the lane I'm in shows me I will be turning left when it comes my turn, and the flow of traffic should be a decent indicator of what I can expect when I get into the actual intersection.
And yet here he comes, the gentleman or gentlelady who spaces out and decides that even though they are in the left turn lane, there should be no objection from anyone around them if they decide to turn right...
Okay, okay, technically it's not a traffic light, only an intersection but I'm not sure having a traffic light at this intersection would improve matters any. It's entirely possible that somewhere in Victoria's history that some sadist came up with this intersection and would stand off to the side and watch with distinct pleasure as entire loving families fell into mortal combat at this intersection from hell.
Am I exaggerating? I don't think so. Pull up to the stop signs on this five way stop on any given day of the week and see if you don't experience the effects of this demon possessed roadway. People forget manners, lose tempers, and forget everything they learned in basic driver's education. There is no right of way. There is no mercy. Only the strong survive.
Having driven for as long as I have in several metropolitan cities, the concept of going under an overpass is no mystery to me. The lanes are clearly marked as to what is allowed from each of them, the lights are well-placed and timed in such a way that the flow of traffic should remain steadily moving, and the lanes are wide enough that there should be no crowding between them.
This is, however, not remotely close to the case.
I've seen people take a left turn into the exit lane of the loop and then honk their horns as if the drivers who are in their proper place are lunatics who have plotted this very moment to end the life of a total stranger.
I've seen cars swerve across all three lanes to get to the left turn lane and then upon realizing where they are, swerve back across all three to get into the right turn lane.
I've seen people try to turn left from the outside lane as if the traffic beside them were a mere inconvenience.
Simply put, this traffic light isn't that bad. It's the behavior of our local drivers that make it something of a nightmare.
Ah, yes, the absolute best of the worst.
I've saved this little jewel of a traffic light for last because it holds a special place in my heart. It's highly likely that if this traffic light/intersection were a person, I'd try to beat the crap out of it.
As it is, I still might.
The construction nightmare on Sam Houston has made this traffic light a place where hope goes to die. One lane in each direction, often without clearly marked signs to let a driver know what is happening ahead, makes getting through this little slice of heaven a literal hit or miss operation.
Just this past week, the construction crews moved the signs around to indicate that they were beginning to work on the opposite side of the road. This meant they were closing the left lanes and moving traffic to the right lanes. Unfortunately, they put up new signs to indicate what was happening ahead and not one but two of those helpful signs indicated we were to merge left.
Not that many people pay attention to the signs anyway.
I've found myself sitting through several lights behind a car with its left turn signal on despite the fact that just below the stop light there's been a clearly lettered sign stating, "NO LEFT TURN". Whatever, the wording totally means it's a suggestion, obviously.