So I'm driving on a main, 4 lane, undivided street, on my way to McDonald's. Workers for an underground instalation company have been resodding the grass easements along various streets with traffic signals. They recently install a fiber optic network to control all the traffic signals in town and, eventually, operate cameras at intersections. For now, it means that the traffic signals can now be operated or reset from, say, the police station or street maintaince office.

So I'm coming up on an intersection where two opposing SUV's waiting to turn left, or across the opposing lanes of traffic for those who drive on the left side of the road. There's no turn lanes, but a couple years ago they added green arrow lights for protected turns, in both directions. I think to myself, you know, it's kinda cool the city can control and monitor the traffic singals from a central location, and the green arrows are nice when it's busy, but people will still do stupid things. The city really ought to add turn lanes, but even then people manage to screw up.

As I came to the intersection, the SUV that was traveling east (as I was) turned, and the westbound SUV did the same thing, except I was fairly close to the intersection when the other driver turned in front of me. I slammed the brake, wondering if the other driver was going to keep going and get out of the way, or panic brake and come to a stop directly in my path? Fortunatly, the driver kept going, and cleared out of my way.

When my path was clear, the light was still green so I pressed heavily on the pedal until I was at the speed limit. "God dammit!" I thought to myself. "They can install fiber optic networks, do traffic analysis, have cameras, and add whatever fucking technology they want, but that westbound idiot is still going to turn in front of my eastbound car!"

No amount of technology, traffic studys, saftey measures, etc, are going to stop people from making mistakes. There's always going to be drunk drivers, people who barly passed their driving tess, people who just drive like maniacs, people not paying attention, and the list goes on and on. People will be fiddling with the bass to make their 27" Richter Scale sub woofers more seismic while talking on the cell phone, smoking a cigarette, and washing down their Filet-O-Fish with a Coke. No level of monitoring of intersections, or control over the lights, is going to stop people from making bad driving decisions.

Personally, I'd rather see fiber be used to offer some type of universal or low-cost high speed internet service in the city.

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