Merced County Times Newspaper
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Synchronized Traffic Lights Could Help Our Air Quality

John Derby
Times Publisher John Derby

This year will go down as one of the worst air quality years in the valley on record.

One of the reasons is that our valley is like a huge sack which allows the air in but won’t turn it loose.

There are other reasons. The fire smoke has been non-stop, and there is no let-up in sight.

The second thing is the dust created by agriculture. It is harvest season and there is no way of getting around it. This valley makes its living by agriculture.

The third reason, and the greatest factor, is the automotive pollution which comes down from the north bringing the toxic mix which we breathe. You can’t stop trucking because that is vital, and the personal automobile, humans will never part with. Rail is a “wait and see” proposition, and very, very expensive.

There is something else which eludes government and our local Air Quality Control District. And that is the pollution coming from cars waiting at stop lights.

Why aren’t city lights synchronized? A few are, but by and large, most are not.

In this day and age when the human mind can develop a wristwatch to do such amazing things, we still have many busy streets which do not have synchronized lights. Government engineers say, in some cases, “It can not be done.”

What they are saying is that not enough revenue is being spent to have it done.

State and federal government is splashing around trillions for everything from soup to nuts, and yet synchronized lights to move traffic more quickly, is not at the top of the list where it should be.

So here is our solution. Take some of the billions being spent annually on High Speed Rail and redirect it to solve the problem of our lack of synchronized lights. This will effect the quality of air in this valley, which everyone wants.

It will also shorten the time it takes to come and go to work, which everyone wants.

It is a win-win situation, but will our government and specially the Air Quality Control Board, which is more concerned with switching gas powered lawn mowers to electric, do something that would really make a difference in our air quality?

Think big Air Quality Control Board. Open your eyes state legislators.

Raise the cry for better air. It can and should be done.

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