At most intersections in Wichita with a stoplight, you'll see a microwave-oven-size box mounted a few feet from the ground or a refrigerator-size case on a corner.
The boxes house the electronics that control the light.
And these antiquated — and often disconnected — electronics are why you might hit another red light at the next intersection.
The problem is the systems usually don't communicate, and many of them have fallen out of sync with each other.
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The dysrhythmia is noticeable on Douglas, West 21st Street, Central, Harry and Rock Road — to name a few.
But the city hopes to dramatically improve the synchronization of traffic lights over the next two years.
Pending a City Council vote today, the city plans to begin a pilot project on Woodlawn between 29th Street North and 34th Street North, where closely spaced intersections and heavy traffic at the Home Depot and YMCA create backups. It will cost $157,325.
And it's just a start.
Brian Coon, assistant traffic engineer, said the city plans to link all 417 of Wichita's traffic light intersections together on a point-to-point ethernet system that analyzes traffic patterns and coordinates the smoothest flow possible.
It's a multimillion dollar project that officials say could save commuters hours every year, cut 66,000 tons of pollution out of the local atmosphere and reduce wear on city streets.
A similar project saved money and time in Kansas City, city reports say. It reduced stops along arterial streets by 90 percent, cut travel time by 20 to 60 percent, and reduced fuel consumption by 10 to 20 percent.
You don't have to go further than the mayor's office to find a critic of Wichita's status quo.
"They seem like they're off," Mayor Carl Brewer said of the traffic lights at some intersections. "And you can never make it from one and through another."
Like many of you, Brewer has used trial and error to find the streets that flow best.
As a resident of north-central Wichita, Brewer takes Ninth Street from I-135 to get downtown.
"Fewer stops," he said.