Monday, August 27, 2007

Stupid Traffic 1

During my many wanderings, I have encountered some really stupid, local attempts to control traffic. I mean "stupid" in the sense of "that which makes you hopping mad at the time, and which makes you laugh later."

I think the all-time Grand Prize for Stupid Traffic goes to a small town in southeastern South Dakota, where part of the main drag had been torn up for resurfacing. At least temporarily, to manage the congested traffic during this construction project, the town put up an interesting combination of signs at one, central intersection. On the north-south road there were yield signs; on the east-west road, stop signs.

Now think about it. Which is more restrictive: a stop sign or a yield sign? You would think the answer would be a stop sign, because it requires you to stop when you come to it, every time; the yield sign only requires you to stop if there is oncoming traffic. But when you put a stop sign and a yield sign in direct opposition to each other - as I have seen only in that one instance - the result is that everyone on the road with the stop signs has to stop; and everyone on the road with the yield signs has to stop and wait for the people at the stop sign to go on.


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