Some time has passed without major traffic jams in the Baton Rouge area, but it’s a matter of when and not if they return. In the meantime, with traffic counts lighter, the city-parish government is pushing ahead with a major fiber-optic initiative that ought to help when congestion returns us to our terrible normal.
The new system, paid for by voters with a 2018 increase in sales taxes, will not be fully in place if — and we fervently hope so — the coronavirus shutdowns are behind us in a reasonable amount of time. But after two years, when the fiber-optic system is complete, the Harding Boulevard offices should be able to control lights on major streets in cases of accidents, or even normal rush-hour traffic and events like LSU football games.
''Many people thought it would never happen, but we're finally getting in sync,” Broome said, and she and others can remember mayors promising the same thing for decades, back to the late Pat Screen saying he would synchronize the lights on Florida Boulevard. Didn’t happen.
With traffic lighter, upgrades have begun on 33 intersections, but there are 470 signals that need to be connected for the system to work. Maybe, though, that will ultimately lead to better management of one of Baton Rouge’s daily vexations.