October 07, 2008
The traffic lights are working again

Good news.

The other 2,426 intersections in Houston now have working red, yellow and green light cycles. So far, the city has spent an estimated $6.31 million fixing the signals -- including costs for equipment, overtime and the hiring of more than 120 contract workers, according to Michael Marcotte, director of Public Works and Engineering.

But the work is not done, said Mayor Bill White. While 43 percent of signalized intersections are considered fully restored to pre-Ike normality, the remainder still have issues with timing or cameras. Many flow-control devices that can lengthen or shorten green signals during rush hours still need repair.

Nice work. The city had previously said that this work may take till the end of November. Presumably, that included getting everything re-synched and re-timed. I also presume that the cameras mentioned above are the traffic flow cameras and not the red light cameras. I haven't seen any mention of them in these Ike-related stories, but it's a good question: If the lights may not be in sync, are the red light cameras still functioning as intended? That argument might make for an actual valid defense to a camera-generated ticket for now.

If Ike's damage had a silver lining, it is this: The city has been able to speed up the replacement of incandescent traffic bulbs with the more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes. LED bulbs use less power and last longer. The city can save about 90 percent per bulb compared to an incandescent light.

LEDs will replace incandescent traffic bulbs entirely by the end of 2009, officials said.

All part of the greenhouse gas reduction plan. Take your good news where you can find it, I always say.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 07, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
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