Do-gooder government, unintended results

Two letters on this page take the cap off my own lengthy simmerings on these two related matters.

The first is a super-expensive solution to a limited problem: pedestrians crossing state highway intersections.

These ubiquitous crossing signals with their countdown blinkers are showing up everywhere — except some obvious places they are actually needed.

I have occasion to drive Ga. Highway 16 in rural eastern Spalding County. Out there, literally in the middle of nowhere, with no houses, businesses or even livestock in sight, these expensive pedestrian push-button crossing signals have gone up, forlornly awaiting the possible one pedestrian a year that might use the signal.

Here in Fayette, you see them everywhere — everywhere, that is, except some places they might actually be useful more than once or twice a day.

Like Ga. Highway 54 at Walt Banks Road — you know, within a block of a high school, two churches, two big shopping centers, a mobile home park. But no crossing lights there yet.

But, hey, you’ve got your blinking countdown on Hwy. 54 at Sandy Creek/Norton roads, where there is little reason for any pedestrian to be trying to get across.

And the unintended consequences: Have you noticed longer wait times at red lights that once operated more smartly? Larger clots of traffic back up at these pedestrian-signal-enhanced crossings, timed presumably for the once-a-year aged granny pushing her walker painfully and slowly across four lanes of impatient vehicles.

(Come on, now: How have pedestrians survived until now on these state highways?)

So, traffic backs up, idle time is increased exponentially, more fuel is wasted waiting on the empty intersection to go green. Larger slugs of slowed traffic lead to increased lane changing and probably more aggressive driving. Longer waits, increased fuel waste, more air pollution, lowered individual productivity from more time spent waiting on longer red lights — and for what?

So, the governmental do-gooders who cried, “Let’s make all our intersections safer for Granny,” gets to feel good that one granny inches across one intersection a year while the other 20 signalized intersections languish with little to no pedestrian traffic at all.

No censuses, no studies, no real data that suggests even one-tenth of these expensive new signalized intersections needed any improvements. Just government gone mad with do-gooders’ intentions and our dwindling tax money.

That’s what do-gooder government does with lowly intersections: Makes them into multi-million-dollar boondoggles — a monumentally stupid waste of money and resources.

Imagine what they will do with healthcare.

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