Forget the collapse of Amercia’s banking industry and the horrible train collision in Chatsworth, forget everything and suffer amnesia with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who is descending into the bowels of City Hall East today to show off for the TV cameras and the assembled members of media his latest achievement.
Dailynews.com reports today “‘Operation Bottleneck Relief Phase IV” will use variable green
light intervals and other traffic signal tweaks to improve traffic flow
at an additional 60 of L.A.’s most-congested intersections, according
to a spokesman for the mayor.’”
What the mayor is actually showing off is the latest upgrade to the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control System developed by city traffic engineers 24 years ago — the last time the city Department of Transportation did anything right — to regulate the duration of traffic signals depending on traffic congestion.
The city’s own website explains: “Based on the
successful performance of the Coliseum Area ATSAC System during the
1984 Olympic Games, the ATSAC System is being implemented citywide. To
date, ATSAC has been implemented at 3,100 of 4,300 City of Los Angeles
ATSAC has gotten so much publicity over the years that even something called “Swindle” magazine published a lengthy story praising the system.
“L.A. traffic is the worst in the country. Rush hour can stretch for
over eight hours a day. According to the Texas Transportation
Institute’s (TTI) 2005 Urban Mobility Study, the average peaktime
traveler spent 93 excess hours sitting in congestion in 2003, and
traffic jams cost each commuter about $1,600 per year in extra fuel and
time lost. Yet, as costly and time consuming as L.A. traffic is, it
could be worse. Much worse.”
ATSAC’s operations center is four stories below ground in a windowless room where traffic flow data pours in from sensors at intersections and seven large video screens show what’s happening at various locations around the city.
It’s not the least bit clear what if anything the mayor has to do with ATSAC or why he would claim credit for it — unless, of course, his standing in the polls is at an all-time low, he’s running for re-election and his campaign for a $40 billion sales tax hike for transportation projects is in deep trouble.
But then adding 60 more intersections — barely 1 percent of the city’s total intersections — getting the latest upgrade to ATSAC is pretty exciting if you look at it as the mayor and political consultants.
What they see is a 60 percent increase in the 103 intersections already upgraded and can boast the mayor achieved something great to make your life better.
“According to a statement issued Sunday…(ATSAC) resulted in a reduction of 900,000 delay
hours each year while reducing the average driver’s time spent at red
lights by 8 seconds per signal,” dailynews.com reports.