Dear Traffic Management Authority Employee

Dear Traffic Management Authority Employee,

Or should I say, employees, because there were five of you standing at the intersection this morning. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for waiving traffic through the light when it was green and for making that “stop” motion with your orange plastic light wand when the light turned red. It’s amazing to me that we ever functioned with just traffic lights before you came into our lives–it’s like we were living without the internets. How did we know that green meant we could proceed and that red meant we should stop?! And yellow? Oh, the multitude of colors was just so confusing!

But now, thanks to you–and your four co-workers–we no longer have to worry about sitting at the intersection, thinking, “well, it’s green… should I go?” No, you are there, with your shining beacon of traffic direction to guide us, slowly, on our way to work.

So thank you, Traffic Management Authority Employee, for doing the critical job that previously could only have been done with cost-effective automated signal systems. Your redundancy is what makes this the “City that works!”

10 Comments so far

  1. jack (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:05 am

    I don’t know what city you are driving but I have never been in a city where more people run red lights. (That includes driving in New York City, Boston, New Orleans and many other major cities) Most people in fact do not understand what red means and certainly no one ever attempts to stop at yellow, allowing those turning left to get through the intersection before the oncoming green. Instead traffic is backed up at every major intersection. So while it may seem redundant, these people may be needed until someone teaches people how to drive.

  2. Dave! (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:36 am

    The TMA people don’t stop traffic for yellow lights, either… and why do we need *5* of them at the intersection, just to mimic traffic lights?!

    I’ve driven in D.C., L.A. and NYC… even London and Tokyo and the drivers in Chicago, on the whole, aren’t worse than any of those cities.

  3. Bill V (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 10:48 am

    I say we do away with lights and put people at every intersection. Think of how pleasant driving would be, seeing the same people everyday, a little small talk, update on the weather, will Dusty be fired soon! while waiting for the “light” to change. We would certainly become the Friendliest City in the Universe, and be able to throw things at folks who run red lights or are just plain rude.

  4. Larry Griffin (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 11:06 am

    At least half of the time, the green-vested TMA folk are about as useful as a hood ornament (my pet peeve: their whistles are absolutely ear-piercing if you’re anywhere near them).

    That said, when the streets are congested they sometimes do a good job of breaking up the congestion — e.g. where there is a long line of cars waiting to make left-hand turns, instead of everyone turning through the red light after oncoming traffic they wave the appropriate number of cars through the intersection. The greenvests also do a pretty good job of keeping buses on the move. If you happen to live on the North Side or near one of the sports venues on the South Side, you know they also do a pretty important job on game days of keeping traffic moving when the streets are absolutely clogged.

    Maybe there are some legitimate grounds for ranting about these workers, but if you compare them to how lazy the average county/municipal employee is alleged to be, I think we’re getting at least some return on the taxpayer dollar.

  5. Harriet (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

    Really – I have to echo Jack’s sentiment. I don’t know what city you’re driving in, but drivers in Chicago can’t manage themselves. Blocking intersections, running red lights, sitting at green arrows contemplating their navels – it’s maddening. And the Traffic Management folks should stop the pededstrians from walking against the light – it impedes traffic flow. There’s a reason that flashing light says “Don’t Walk.” So cars can make turns. Also, the workers are posted on Dan Ryan Alternate routes, one of which I drive daily, and that road would be chaos without them. Sure, some of those Traffic Management people are useless, but I think traffic, in general, has been much better with them around.

  6. Alana (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

    How often to people here have to take the written/driven driver’s test to renew their license?

    ‘Cause it’s not often enough.

  7. Dave! (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

    Alright you Chicago driver haters… I know we can be bad, but we arent’ *that* bad. In fact, there are twenty-eight states plus DC that rank worse than us. Maybe all you gripers are superior motorists… or maybe you learned to drive in one of the states that didn’t do so well? :)

  8. steven (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

    maybe the instructors who are teaching these idiot drivers are part of a city-wide scandal in which the instructors are completely unqualified…or not..

  9. morgen (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 8:04 pm

    People in Chicago drive HORRIBLY. They’re dangerous. Dave!, that link is about a driving test. People in Chicago know how to drive and deliberately break those rules to save a couple seconds. It’s just a video game out there. And don’t get me started on the cabs.

  10. Neha (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

    I agree with all of you. What I hate the most about TMA is when its ur green light and they are telling the other side of the intersection to move. Its like they are trying to cause an accident. For example, on Michigan and Roosevelt, it was my green arrow on one side hes telling me to go and the traffic coming from Lake Shore Drive to go to..come on now!!!! Either do your job right or don’t bother.

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