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This title can be interpreted as a good thing that the girls stopped the cars – what activists! But unfortunately, the cars were still idling.

I am not for driving and would encourage people to walk, skateboard, skate, ride or take public transit. But since currently people do drive we should try and let them do so as efficiently as possible. Now it may be that in doing so, we encourage driving. Well there are ways to discourage driving without actually adding more harm to the environment – taxing drivers or gas is one way to discourage driving and if the money is used towards environmental solutions, then even better!

That aside… one way to let people drive efficiently is synchronized lights. Hamilton has synchronized lights which greatly reduces idling. Once again, perhaps the ease of driving through Hamilton encourages drivers to do so and so more people drive. But as mentioned, there are other ways to discourage driving. For the people that must drive, synchronized lights help – please see the synchronized lights post.

They have just put in a new light at a new supermarket and have added a cross button. There is another down the way at the Tim Hortons. Now, on occasion, a pedestrian presses the button to cross the road rather than wait for the light to change naturally. So on average, they get to cross a minute earlier.

But what happens is that this puts the lights out of sync. I have been caught oh, about 1/20 times. And each time, I look around and see 20 cars around me waiting for this person to cross the road. And there are 20 cars on the other side waiting. And once I go, the next light is out of sync so the 20 cars with me have to wait there too. And the ten cars going the other way have to wait at their next light.

So that is 20 + 20 + 20 + 20 = 80 cars idling for 1 minute so that a person can cross the road.


If you have a light that does not change until a person wants to cross then this is good design if the light changes to be in sync with the others. If you do not have synchronized lights then perhaps it does not matter as much. If it is a crosswalk in between lights then that is sort of okay. Over or under passes for pedestrians might be better.

Madeline, my daughter, came up with a solution. She suggests that there should be a finished button on the other side of the crosswalk that turns the light back to green. A good idea but it could cause problems if someone uses it while another is on the path. But it could activate and warning hand and give a certain number of seconds to finish the crossing. It was cute and astute. It reminded me of my earliest invention that I proudly told my dad. If your shirt comes untucked, why don’t you tuck it into your underpants like me!

In conclusion, there are other ways to discourage driving other than cause cars to idle. As such, pedestrian walk buttons should not be placed on synchronized lights. Please pass this message along to your city planners for consideration.

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