Stoplights Suck – Time to Copy Cedar Rapids Downtown Layout, Hello Waterloo
There are too many stoplights in downtown Waterloo. There, I said it. They're terrible. They are random, they are poorly timed, they don't help the flow of traffic. They are, in a word, unnecessary. Cedar Rapids a few years back ditched all their downtown traffic lights and went to 4-way stop signs at all intersections. Only a handful of stoplights remain in very high traffic areas.
Cedar Rapids say adios to stoplights - a look back
The Gazette had a report in 2017 about the demise of Cedar Rapids lights. 12 in total were removed. This not only saves the city money in repairs and replacement issues but saves drivers time at lower traffic intersections. In fact, the article specifically sights improvement of traffic flow as a key reason for ditching the lights.
So what's the deal in other cities? Why haven't they copied? Well, it certainly would not work everywhere. I was in Minneapolis over the weekend and, there's NO WAY a huge city like Minneapolis would be able to handle traffic flow with stop signs. Ditto for any large, sprawling downtown.
Dumping the lights would work in most smaller downtowns - hello, Waterloo
But Waterloo? Come on. Waterloo has virtually no downtown traffic unless there's an event. The stoplights as mentioned above are a mess. They are completely random. Let's take, for example, East Park and Sycamore St. I come to this light regularly, and at varying times. Unless there's an event at Lincoln Park two blocks away, this intersection is dead. A car will come here and there and often sit... forever, at a completely unnecessary stoplight. Dump it. Dump 'em all. It's the same (slow) story throughout the downtown area. Hurry up... and wait.
Don't remove the lights off Highway 63 or 128. Cars fly, as you'd imagine since they're exiting the highway. But once you're into downtown proper, there's no need to traffic lights at literally every intersection. Oh, and they're also an eyesore... removal will mean one less giant thing to stare at in our downtown.