Simon says stop … at the city’s red lights

By Bob Roegner, Inside Politics

  • Tuesday, March 18, 2008 11:43am
  • Opinion

By Bob Roegner, Inside Politics

As I saw a car almost get hit by two other cars running red lights at the 320th and Pacific Highway intersection, I was again reminded that we still don’t have the much-debated photo cameras in place.

Since our lengthy community discussion about a year ago, both Seattle and Auburn have decided to expand their programs. We have yet to start ours.

So I asked City Hall when Federal Way was likely to see implementation of the cameras, and the answer is: They’re coming soon. Soon?

OK, but going to the store is still more of an adventure than I would like it to be, so is there something we can do in the interim?

As I was once again struggling with my ever-present treadmill, while reading the newspaper, I ran across a story from the Associated Press about the village of Oak Lawn, Ill.

With the same impatient drivers in their community as we have in ours, they have come up with a creative solution.

It seems in Oak Lawn, drivers tend to treat those big red stop signs much like our drivers treat red lights.

That is, optional, or as simply advice that may be used or rejected depending on how late you’re running that particular day.

So, in addition to the red stop sign, they had added a second red sign at troublesome intersections to try and get motorists to follow the law.

Below the traditional stop sign, there is another red sign that says “Really, you gotta stop.”

Other signs say “WHOAAA” or “Stop…and smell the roses.”

Another says “Stop…right there pilgrim.” Presumably, suggesting John Wayne and the cavalry will be on your heels if you don’t.

Still another says “Stop…in the name of love.” That’s from a song for those of you too young to remember the Supremes.

So, wouldn’t that work here? We have every bit as good of a sense of humor as the people of Illinois, and apparently just as many lawbreakers.

To localize it, how about: “Stop…Chief Wilson is watching you.”

Or: “Stop…or we’ll have enough money to print more signs.”

Or: “Stop…the fender you bend might be your own.”

“Stop…or the city manager will have enough money to give out raises.”

“Stop…do not pass Go. Pay $200!”

“Stop…Santa Claus is watching you.”

“Stop…these signs are expensive.”

And my favorite: “Stop…or we might actually put in those photo cameras.”

I’m sure the citizens of Federal Way could come up with signs a lot more interesting than mine.

So jot it down and send it to your favorite council member. It will give them something to read while we wait for the photo cameras to be installed.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn: bjroegner@comcast.net.

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