Happy Halloween. It is time for trick or treat. Unfortunately the Sunday SunSentinel headline was a trick, not a treat. “We’re Going to make them suffer,” was the headline – attributed to former Dania Beach Mayor and Commissioner, and now Broward Planning Council chair Anne Castro. Oooops. Now anyone driving in Broward County knows that the signals are not timed, which creates traffic issues during rush hours. Everyone I talk to has the same complaint and similar stories. I recall driving home late at night from my Dad’s condo realizing one street with a posted 45 mph sign, required people to go 52 to make the lights. Wrong message. Closer to my house, a main road required me to stop at every traffic light at midnight, for reasons still unclear to me. No cross traffic. No commercial activity. Engineers with the County say there is too much traffic to fix it in Mondays paper despite the computers to simulate and controllers to adjust timing by cycle. But my Dad pointed out that Detroit figured it out in the 1930s on Woodward Avenue, by hand. I95 is being widened to add express lanes and improve traffic flow.
But the trick did not stop there. The front page story followed with this nugget: “Until you make it so painful that people want to come out of their cars, they’re not going to come out of their cars.” Um, ok, but I think we have a penny sales tax referendum going on to help fund transit and transportation, but this is not helping. Having worked for a transit company, people do not ride unless the buses come frequently enough that they don’t have to wait long. It is a double edged sword which is why heavy investments (and losses) are required to get transit started. Once people get used to using it, and it is convenient, they keep using it. The bus or train ride length is less important, it is the wait that matters. People will ride an hour if they only wait 10 minutes to get picked up. And don’t have to walk far on either end because heat & rain matter. I recall going to a Miami Heat game a number of years ago. Taking TriRail and the MetroRail worked great, until I realized that there was no train back. Not convenient. Had to drive. In rush hour. Haven’t gone back. It was so irritating I decided not to go. Not the solution business wants so I think maybe we need to rethink that statement. Transit would help, but is needs to be convenient. That’s what we should be selling.