Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles responds to your ‘Ask The Mayor’ questions: My informal traffic study

The following is an ‘Ask The Mayor’ question submitted to TLS, and the Mayor’s response. Email your questions for the Mayor to [email protected].


Dear Mr. Mayor,

Firstly, I would like to commend you for the great job you have done as our mayor the past year. You have been very active in opening up new roads, and taking care of our community’s issues, as well as making yourself available to the public through “ask the mayor”. Though the tradition of our town is to have a revolving mayor, I would call for a motion to have you serve as our mayor for another consecutive year, to continue doing the great work you’re doing.

I have a suggestion to help alleviate rush-hour traffic on Route 9 and would love to share it with you.

I conducted an informal study and have discovered an interesting fact: by a standard traffic light, during the duration of one green light, it takes the same amount of time for the first 3-4 cars to pass as it takes all the rest of the cars! This is simply because it takes time for cars to accelerate, so the first car passes at (for example) 5 miles/hour, the second at 10 miles/hour, the third at 20, and only by the fourth or fifth car does the average speed pick up to the speed limit.

That being said, there is a simple solution to the Route 9 rush-hour backup. Reprogram the lights and add another 10-15 seconds to each green light on Route 9. Since a much larger number of cars can pass after they have already achieved full acceleration, the extra seconds added to the end of each green cycle will disproportionately help clear the backlog of vehicles waiting to pass.

(This should be done just during rush hour, and perhaps not even by each green cycle. Even doing it even just a few times throughout the hour should already severely alleviate the traffic load.)

I know that it sounds as if I am trying to come up with a new solution when traffic professionals have already given their input, but on the flipside, being a Lakewood resident gives me a better picture of our unique traffic infrastructure. This solution will work uniquely in Lakewood while elsewhere it may fail. This is simply because in a regular city during rush hour, all streets and main arteries are congested. Because the streets generally crisscross, adding 15 seconds to one green cycle adds the same 15 seconds to the dissecting street’s red cycle, thus backing up traffic on the perpendicular street. However, in Lakewood, there is barely any congestion coming from the crisscrossing arteries. Since the majority of the traffic influx is coming from one end of Route 9, in our unique system my plan should work.

Thank you to the Lakewood Scoop for posting this, and thank you Mr. Mayor for reading it.

Response from Mayor Coles:

Thanks. I think it is a great idea and one that we have proposed several times on Rt. 9 and in different parts of town. We have always gotten pushback from the state or county when making these requests. Some responses have cited you point about side streets backing up. I think it is a prime example of a saying I have had to repeat many times over the years, that common sense and government don’t always get along. Be that as it may, we will continue to ask for common sense solutions such as this as well as the permanent solution of widening Rt. 9.

Thanks for the kind words. I have enjoyed this year as mayor and especially the opportunity to interact with so many of my fellow residents.



Have a question for the Mayor? Send it to [email protected]

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  1. My solution to most rt 9 traffic. Cement barrier down the whole rt 9. No left TURNS and have a u turn signal at the more major intersections

  2. “I think it is a prime example of a saying I have had to repeat many times over the years, that common sense and government don’t always get along.”

    Another example is increasing density before we have the infrastructure in place…..

  3. Actually i think the State is wright u cant have cars backed up passed sunset it will just make things worse, also it takes time for cars to position themselves, either to the turning lane or straight so not necessarily it will save trafic, but as I’ve said before we should apply for a permit to go over the lake into Forest so it’ll take off turning trafic, and if needed take a ten year Municipal bond so it wont cost the tax payers so much or a gov grant.

  4. Many of us that drive down the 9 have been expressing this idea for years.The answer to the side streets is that the main artery is the 9 if that worked better everything works better and lets just try it its freee!!!!!!!

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