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Buffalo's traffic lights make for slow going

Many weary drivers are saying the same things.

Put Buffalo's traffic signals in sync.

Get rid of lights that have outlasted their usefulness.

Outfit other signals with special gizmos that keep lights green until vehicles on quieter streets approach intersections.

City Hall officials have heeded their advice. They're stepping up an effort that began last year to better coordinate traffic signals on some of Buffalo's busiest streets.

Mayor Byron W. Brown recently met with public works honchos and engineers to review the effort. Brown said he can relate to the frustrations drivers feel when they're forced to make incessant stops. It not only eats up time -- it wastes fuel.

We performed an offbeat lunch hour experiment Wednesday. We drove up Delaware Avenue from West Mohawk to Forest, then made our way back downtown via Elmwood Avenue. We hit eight lights on Delaware and spent a third of our travel time -- just over three and a half minutes -- sitting at signals.

We also hit eight lights on Elmwood -- nine if you count the one on South Elmwood behind City Hall. We spent just under four minutes of our 12-minute excursion waiting at lights. Check out our video and you'll understand why some drivers would argue that "life in the fast lane" doesn't exist on some Buffalo thoroughfares.

Officials say motorists should see big improvements on numerous city streets by next spring -- even sooner on some stretches.

How would you describe your driving experiences in the city?

-- Brian Meyer

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