Op-Ed: Comprehensive Plan Needed to Replace Dallas' Aging Traffic Lights

An editorial calls for a comprehensive plan to address Dallas' growing need to overhaul its streetlights—80 percent of which are now older than their recommended 25-year life span.

The Dallas News builds suspense in introducing the pressing need to update the city of Dallas' traffic lights: "Few line items rate higher in a city budget than public safety, generally thought of as police and fire services. Dallas is no different, devoting most of its annual spending to this critical area....If 80 percent of the city’s police cruisers had exceeded mileage maximums, would we consider that a crisis? What if 80 percent of our firetrucks were past their useful life spans? Would the logical response be to avert our eyes and hope no one gets hurt?"

"So imagine your surprise to learn that 80 percent of Dallas’ 1,500 traffic signals blink on today past their recommended 25-year life spans. The city replaces them as they fail or are damaged by weather or accident, but that’s about it. Dallas has never had a comprehensive replacement program."

"Dallas’ streets department has been raising the alarm since last fall that this is not a good long-term plan, which doesn’t seem too revolutionary. It believes the City Council would be smart to find the money to replace about 60 signals per year. The problem, of course, is that this would cost about $250 million over 25 years."

The editorial's main argument is for a comprehensive plan to address the problem: "The council should consider whether stoplight hardware is an item to consider for its next bond program, as significant an infrastructure need as street repairs or new sewers."

Full Story: Editorial: Why Dallas’ outdated traffic signals are such a problem

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