Satire By Chris Giblin
After a series of disruptive, dangerous crashes in four different intersections in Lawrence, New Jersey on Wednesday, Mayor Rick Lewis vowed to return the town’s traffic signals to the normal red-amber-green system for the remainder of the holiday season.
“We only looked to bring a bit of spontaneous holiday cheer to the people of Lawrence right before Christmas,” Lewis said in a press conference in front of a few local newspaper reporters and a dozen angry drivers who had been in accidents. “Thus, only in retrospect do I admit the folly of this decision. We were misguided, but you have to realize that our hearts were in the right place.”
Lewis went on to reveal that the choice to change the lights came as an eventual reaction to his receiving many complaint e-mails and phone calls about the lack of a “Lawrence Holiday Tree,” which had been a town tradition for the past 30 years. The decorated evergreen tree usually stood about 25 feet tall and was located in front of City Hall each holiday season. However, budget cuts forced the Town Council to phase out the practice for 2010. Lewis said the red and green only lights came as the result of an exhaustive, private meeting with his fellow Town Council members to find a cost-effective, preferably free way to spread holiday cheer to the town’s residents.
“We threw around a bunch of ideas,” Lewis said. “We considered putting on a Nativity scene play as a Council but then realized it was too religious. We thought about going caroling door to door but figured out that we couldn’t visit even close to all 32,000 residents. So finally, my councilman buddy was like, ‘let’s just have the traffic engineers turn off all the yellow lights.’ But now, as I gaze out into a group of irate Jersey drivers, I regret thinking that was a good idea.”
Few Lawrence residents and individuals driving through the town were able to identify the traffic lights as cheap Christmas decorations.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” driver Wayne Hayes said as he waited in motionless traffic after an accident on Route 206. “How could you have defective traffic lights? It’s disgustingly irresponsible. And I thought things couldn’t get any worse in this town after they didn’t put up the Christmas tree this year.”
“I’m gonna be so pissed if my insurance doesn’t cover all this,” said Lindsay Clarke, a driver who got rear-ended after she slammed on the brakes in reaction to a sudden red light. “No matter what, my premiums are probably gonna go through the roof next year. Whoever’s responsible for this should lose his job.”
A considerable faction of interviewed Jersey drivers also lamented the loss of the yellow light at critical intersections because it was their “favorite of the three” and “always offered a good challenge.”
Lewis’ pleas for understanding and forgiveness are falling on deaf ears so far, but he reportedly looks to improve his image through sound governing in the New Year. He also announced that the Town Council has scrapped the idea of having red, white and blue traffic lights in case next year’s 4th of July parade is also phased out due to budget cuts.