The City of Springfield installed its’ 5,000th stoplight, which became operational yesterday morning. The new stoplight is located at the intersection of South Chambery Avenue and Michelle Place in southeast Springfield, in a quiet subdivision just north of East Battlefield Road.
Springfield city leaders opted to celebrate the milestone by passing out gold-plated stoplights mounted on a post to the first 100 drivers that came through the intersection after the light became operational, at exactly 9 A.M. They also handed out doughnuts to the drivers as they waited the maximum three minutes until the light changed to green.
“This is one of our faster stoplights”, said Mayor Tim O’Meal, who was on hand to help celebrate the occasion, and he stated that like all the other stoplights in Springfield, this one will help keep Springfield citizens safe.
“This stoplight will ensure the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and cats and other animals that choose to cross these streets”, he said. “Drivers tend to slow down where there are stoplights in place on the road that they are driving on. Because, you know, they have to stop, or be ready to stop. And if they don’t stop, we have exactly 1,783 video cameras, give or take about 4 or 5… something like that anyway… in place at various intersections in the city, and we will catch you if you decide to blow a red light”.
City Traffic Engineer Merle Blueman was also on hand to help pass out doughnuts and the gold-plated stoplights to passing citizens. “We will be here till the first 100 drivers come through here”, he said, looking anxiously up and down the street. “So far, we’ve only had two cars come through here, but I expect traffic to pick up pretty soon. Just a bit ago, I’m pretty sure I saw a lady getting into a car on this cul-de-sac street (Michelle Place) and she should be coming through this stoplight any time now”. (EDITOR’S NOTE: AS OF PRESS TIME, 30 HOURS AFTER THE STOPLIGHT BECAME OPERATIONAL, ONLY 26 CARS HAD BEEN THROUGH THE STOPLIGHT. WEARY CITY LEADERS ON HAND OPTED TO EAT THE REST OF THE DOUGHNUTS, HAND OUT THE GOLD PLATED STOPLIGHTS TO NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS, AND GO HOME)
Not every citizen was thrilled about yet another stoplight being placed in Springfield. Hal Fishelstork, who lives near the new stoplight on Chambery Avenue, was seen glaring at the stoplight and shaking his head. “I live a mile from Battlefield Mall, and it takes me 15 minutes to get there. It’s ridiculous! I can get there faster by walking. And I don’t even go downtown any more. The last time I tried that, it took over an hour!”
O’Meal was asked how the city would find the tax dollars to pay to keep all the stoplights and video cameras running, especially considering data that has shown a sharp drop in speeding tickets and the revenue that the fines provide, since no one can go fast enough to break the speed limit before they approach another stop light. “Well, we have had an increase in people running the stoplights, which obviously will occur when you increase the number of stoplights and video cameras at those stoplights. And believe it or not, we are actually handing out more tickets to people driving too slow than we ever did speeding tickets. The minimum speed limit in Springfield is 15 miles per hour. Now we do give drivers about 150 feet to go from a complete stop to reaching 15 miles per hour, but many never make it to that speed because they are approaching another stoplight. But out of courtesy to those drivers that might be in a bit more of a hurry, trying to get to work or something of that nature, we ask that drivers make every effort to speed up to 15 miles per hour before slowing down again. And we strictly enforce that. Our police department writes a lot of tickets for driving too slow”.
Addressing the criticism from many citizens about the massive proliferation of stoplights in the city, O’Meal offered this rebuttal. “I think I may have said this before, but this is a safety issue. You can’t put a price on keeping our drivers, pedestrians, and animals safe. Nor can you put a time on that. It’s better to get to your destination alive, even if it might take a little bit longer. And there are other benefits that the average person might not notice. There has been a huge decrease on road kill on our streets, for example. Squirrels, rabbits and other creatures are now able to safely cross our streets without being reduced into an unsightly heap of a bloody, furry mess.”
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