One of the grandest thoroughfares in the nation, St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans was hit hard by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The street did not flood, but several of the beautiful oaks that lined the Avenue were damaged and had to be removed. Due to fallen electrical lines, the romantic street cars that rolled up and down the street have been replaced by belching city buses, at least until the end of year. And the traffic light situation has been ridiculous.

When stoplights on the Avenue have gone down, either due to malfunction or a Saturday night vehicle allision, it seems as if City Hall “don’t care what they’re saying Uptown.” Not only does the light stay down for months, but the city puts up four-way stop signs that scream “Get used to it, this could be a while.”

Yet things may be looking up. Allen Yrle, a senior traffic engineer at City Hall, assures The Weathers Report that fixing the lights on St. Charles Avenue is a highest priority. Recognizing that the city’s traffic engineering problems could not be adequately addressed by the three field engineers who remained on staff – there were seven before the storm – the city actually hired a contractor to finally do the work. On Tuesday, Yrle predicted that the contractor would finish work on the light at St. Charles and MLK later that day, and he was right. The light on Washington is ready to go, says Yrle, as soon as the RTA finishes its inexplicable work at the intersection. And according to Yrle, the only other downed light on the Avenue, theaggravating mess at Jefferson Avenue, should be fixed in 10-14 days. The delay has been necessary because the system is being completely replaced, with new underground lines and traffic lights on each corner.

Hopefully it will be replaced and soon. If so, we will have a good chance of resisting that urge to get out of the car and beat those temporary stop signs with a baseball bat.

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