No One Likes Long Red Lights In The Poconos

The Poconos is a place with many different ethnicities, backgrounds, vocations, and titles alike. One annoying occurrence unities us together, our dislike of long red lights.

3rd ST Stroudsburg, PA: Photo by Thomas Kwan

This problem that people in the Poconos had the displeasure of dealing with ever since the ill-considered rapid expansion of an almost desolate landscape to one populated with strip malls, gas stations, restaurants, and shopping outlets. Making a left turn on some of these roads is the equivalent of watching paint dry for 3 mins straight, sometimes even longer. While what feels like an eternity passes with sluggish finesse. Almost everyone gets that same level of frustration when they have the light of the devil glaring into their eyes. So what is being done about it? If you live in the county of Monroe, absolutely nothing.

Many other counties you will find; receive grants to update their traffic light systems to a modern standard. There is an application process our county hasn’t filed or hasn’t approved. Gov. Tom Wolf introduced the Green Light Go program in the latter half of 2021. This government grant has given a total accumulation of $15.6M to over 50 municipalities within Pennsylvania. Monroe County was not one of them.

This program set out to essentially reimburse counties and districts willing to update their traffic systems for safety, efficiency, reliability, mobility, and a reduction of road congestion. There may be hope for the future, with the state government accepting applications for the fiscal year 2022-2023, with a budget of roughly $40 million. PennDot’s Traffic Signal Assessment Management System was updated as of April 18, 2022, with several features including but not limited to: drag and drop functionality, shortened signals IDs, location map panels, latitude and longitude information, and more. Monroe County missed the memo.

N Courtland ST & E Broad ST E Stroudsburg, PA: Photo by Thomas Kwan

Many of us have experienced this travesty of human technological evolution and wondered how we control a rover on Mars but cannot make a properly functioning traffic light system. The location of one of these long lights is our very own town of East Stroudsburg, at the corner of 128 N Courtland St ( across from Rite-Aid). This red light changes so slowly (approximately 2-4 mins in length) that I would prefer to take my chances going across the nearby train tracks than spend a single second in ambulatory purgatory.

Another culprit is a stone’s throw away right off Main St. in Stroudsburg, and on 6th, you could listen to a whole song before the gods of traffic control decide you can move on with your life. Even those outside Stroudsburg experience this descent into motor vehicle hell in the most rural places.

Route 715 is one of the most backroad passageways you can take. A perfect shortcut through traffic saves you time and frustration; an excellent idea until you make it to the end and see roughly 40-50 cars pass before you can even move an inch.

This problem ascends to Mount Pocono at various locations, One of them being the red light at the acorn gas station. I saw someone pull up to the pump, pay for their gas, take off and leave before I left onto 611 towards Stroudsburg, Pa. The Pocono transit system plateaus in Mount Pocono, and things only worsen from there. Various areas, such as one going from Walmart’s parking lot to the plaza across the street, incredulously long waits. It is faster to head down 940 towards the center of town and loop back around than it is to wait for the signal to change and be freed from this temporal prison of postponement. Regardless of where you are in the Poconos, we are all subject to this daily annoyance with no hope in sight for change.

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