Clearly, the overwhelming focus on daily activity in Rowlett these days is the bandaging of wounds incurred from the tornado. This is proper and as it should be. However, other aspects of life go on.
This blog has softened it's commentary of any perceived shortfalls of Rowlett elected people, appointed people, flaws in judgement, scheduling misfires, wasteful spending, etc., perceived as committed by Rowlett people. However, the State of Texas doesn't get a bye just because Rowlett did.
I have a question to ask both the Turnpike Authority and TxDot. I will pose that question after some discussion.
I have been watching the intersection of Geo. Bush Tollway and Lakeview Pky ever since the turnpike was opened. Five minutes after the turnpike opened, it was taking five light changes at the above intersection to get from east to west on Lakeview Pky. It was only slightly less congested getting from west to east at the same intersection. Yesterday, it took me six light changes to cross the intersection at 5:30 PM.
Of course, everybody has noticed this malfunction. Recently, work has begun to provide a right turn lane from Lakeview Pky to north bound Bush Tollway. Of course this will help, but only a little bit. Five right turning cars does not create a 6 time light change. Thirty cars do. Why 30 cars? Because the waiting line is never pulled down sufficiently to accommodate all the waiting vehicles, right turning cars helping, or not. It is an easy phenomena to observe. Just park in one of the parking lots on the corner and watch. A stop watch would be handy. However, you don't need a watch. Pick any "rush hour" time frame. Watch the line on west bound Lakeview Pky. When the light turns from green to red, there still remains a significant line that never made it thru the intersection. However, if you then turn to the north bound service road of Bush Turnpike at the same intersection, the line always clears.......or nearly so, never leaving more than a couple of cars. The longest I have ever waited on the south bound service road is two light changes. East bound Lakeview Pky can be a little longer, but never as long as west bound. Therefore, the worst case differences between the lines vary from zero light changes on north bound service road to 6 light changes on east bound Lakeview Pky. South bound service road and east bound Lakeview average somewhere in between.
The north bound turning lane will help, but it will fall far short of "fixin' the problem."
The problem is timing of the light changes. This falls directly on the shoulders of TxDot. It is a very easy observation to make, but it would help if the observation is made somewhat after normal working hours. I know. It probably adds some overtime expense. However, we tax payers pay that expense, and I doubt it is as much as setting thru 6 light changes every couple of days. Also, once the problem is fixed, our gas expense goes down. That is a good investment of sending a college trained traffic expert out to the corner for a few minutes.
Now my question. Does TxDot or the Turnpike Authority hire any experts that got out of the 6th grade? They must be able to count beyond fingers and toes. Also, it would be beneficial if they can use a stop watch and a calculator.
Clearly, east and west Lakeview Pky handles significantly more traffic than the service roads of the tollway. The light changes are much the same duration. If one doesn't recognize this, 6 light changes are created while trying to cross a single intersection.
The traffic signals need to be tweaked. They are long overdue for this maintenance issue. A college trained traffic engineer just has to spend a few minutes after normal work hours to see it.
I have heard it said that the problem with young people is that they don't worry about adversity because all they have to do is change channels and the adversity goes away. I'm not sure I totally agree with that analysis, however it does set out the differences between fantasy and reality. When faced with reality, there is no room for fantasy or wishful thinking.
I think I see something happening in Rowlett. We in Rowlett have been blessed with watching a really good TV program. We have become so comfortable with the program that if we dislike something, we turn the page or select a new channel. Then, life goes on again. You know, just like the kids. It is always so easy to criticize the irritants, then go on to other matters.
Then, reality raised it's ugly head. A real life tornado visited us. The devastation was awful. The irritants seem to have gone away. They have been replaced by very real and individually costly true life dramas. You can't turn the page or change channels. It is real. It exists.
So, what happened to our random, naive and comfortably criticized irritants? They succumbed to reality. Then the question becomes, "does Rowlett grow with the need, or do they try to change channels?"
That's what I think I see unfolding. The citizens of Rowlett and loyal friends of Rowlett are changing into realists in front of our eyes. Complaints can wait until another day. Right now it is time for fixing broken parts. Rowlett citizens and Rowlett "officialdom" are doing precisely that. Our little "bitchy" side is losing out to a growing maturity and increasing loyalty to our town. Citizens are becoming proud of our own city. There is pride in living here. I think this pride is finding it's way out into the surrounding world. I think it is becoming infectious. I see pride that being a citizen of Rowlett is emerging and manifesting itself. I see Rowlett watching this reality program to it's end, warts and all. Rowlett is defending Rowlett. It's a very exclusive club. Not everyone can belong. That is good.