Jan 16, 2010

Red Light Green Light

I remember staring at the traffic signal and scratching my head. It had a red, yellow and green light, but it never changed from green. In fact, I couldn’t figure out why it was even there. There was no crosswalk. There was no pedestrian push button. There was no logical reason why this traffic signal in downtown Denver was always green.


The next time I saw the City Traffic Engineer, I asked about the signal. He explained it to me. Apparently this signal was originally installed to force motorists to drive at the posted speed. There was a time when the light changed from green to red, but after a few years, the city determined that it really didn’t help. However, when they tried to remove the traffic signal, many, many people called to complain. So to pacify the motorists, they left the signal. They hooked it up to always show green. Sure it was a waste of electricity, but it was better than explaining to the public why the signal was no longer needed.


I was reminded of this because of a story out of New York City. Apparently over time, the city has abandoned water mains, but in many instances they have never removed the fire hydrants. Believe it or not, in New York City there are almost 2,000 fire hydrants that are there just for show. The New York Times reported that the hydrants were only useful for the Police to collect fines. One would think that obsolete fire hydrants would be a hazard. How would a fireman know if they are working or not? But it is ultimately more profitable for the City to make money off the hydrants than to spend money removing them.


Call me cynical, but this makes me wonder what things may exist in our community that really serve no purpose. The rumble strips along Colossal Cave Road come to mind. Do they really slow down traffic? How about the cattle guards? Do any of them make sense? I wonder what would happen if the County tried to remove them?


No government is perfect. Christians know that because man is not perfect, our government won’t be either. Deep down, governments have the same sinful behavior as man: They are more interested in self-preservation than in serving others. But don’t get me wrong, I’d rather live here than anywhere else. At least we are fortunate to live in a country where we are free to hold government accountable. In other countries you might get shot.


The only perfect government would be a place where the ruler is looking out for our best interest. It would be a place where the ruler would be just and wise. He would never keep an abandoned fire hydrant to enrich the city coffers. Alas, this place will never exist in this life. But thanks to Jesus, it will in the next!




Pastor David Hook

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