An Open Letter To Whoever Controls the Traffic Lights in Salt Lake City



Dear Whoever is in Control of the Traffic Lights in Salt Lake City,


I would like to write to you today commending your superb system of traffic lights. Not only do lights turn red for no reason, they also stay red long enough for me to finish reading The Brothers Karamazov. I’m sure this seemingly random system of lights annoys many people, but I say bravo! You are a pioneer in helping people all across the downtown metropolitan area stop and smell the roses. Quite literally, they have enough time at a stoplight to waltz out of their car to the nearest rose bush, take a good couple wafts, and stroll back to their vehicle in an unhurried manner.


Sure, it takes fifteen minutes to go ten blocks, but you have at least five stoplights in those ten blocks where you can see the sights, breathe that polluted Kennecott air, and finish your Cuban cigar.  


Yes, I’m sure people call and complain about the light on South Temple between 200 West and West Temple, the one at the TRAX stop that will turn red and flash a walk sign, though the TRAX station itself is more deserted than that apocalyptic wasteland in that movie The Road, but I say, stop complaining people! Think of how much time you have to finish that novel you’ve been kicking around in your head.

 By the time you go through this stoplight on South Temple, the light on either West Temple or 200 West will have most definitely turned red so you have enough time on this block to take a five minute nap. Thank you Salt Lake City for keeping the lights red long enough for us to take naps!


I also very much appreciate the lack of sensors on traffic lights when it is late at night (although, to be fair there seems to be a complete lack of sensors on your traffic lights in general, oblivious to the time of day). What a fabulous time to roll down the windows and soak up the night air.


I’m sure the way in which lights alternate from green to red, never remaining on green for a continuous amount of time, also frustrates a majority of the citizenry, but I extol your use of traffic lights in this great city and offer up to you great accolades for the ways in which you keep us guessing! Who knows why a city’s traffic lights are set up so? What a great mystery you have invited us into! This enigmatic system of lights can only be the result of a truly genius traffic controller with a fetish for slow sightseeing trips or else the work of a mentally handicapped adult from somewhere in Iowa. If the latter is the case I commend you again for your hiring of the disabled. Salt Lake City, you become more and more like Wal-mart everyday. Bravo!


Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not doing a great job. Your traffic light system is truly one of the new Seven Freaking Wonders of the World.


A Truly Grateful Citizen,



Levi Rogers

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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Whoever Controls the Traffic Lights in Salt Lake City

  1. Jessica Cole says:

    Let me just say, I have wanted to write this letter for the last two years. Thank you, friend.

    That said, have you ever had the pleasure of being behind a motorcycle in the left-hand turn lane that turns onto southbound 300 West from North Temple? It’s a real treat. You’ll be stuck there indefinitely, as the sensor is located only in the left-most of the two left-hand turn lanes, and cannot sense that vehicles are in either lane if a motorcycle is there at the front. Therefore, the signal cycle will continuously skip over the green left arrow until the motorcyclist grows impatient and runs the red.

    If you get so lucky as to experience this little urban phenomena, I hope you come prepared with your Russian literature.

  2. Karen Brittain says:

    After 13 years my solution is 700 east, anytime humanly possible. I take it to 80 even if i am getting off at state street. Still faster. The east/west flow has no solution and people talk strategy as if we live in LA. Several years ago there was a study that showed people in the valley spend longer in commute than any other area with the same amount of people. I thought it was due to the mountains as a physical bottleneck, I think you have revealed the truth, it’s the lights! Smell the roses indeed!

  3. Lucia Bizbee says:

    Love it. I need to buy some coffee soon.

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