Broward Commissioner Warns: State Senate Idea Would Create “Traffic Nightmare”




Ritter Bio Pic


This is the time of year when many county government elected officials throughout the state shudder and hold our collective breath. Why? The Florida Legislature is due to gavel into session on March 3, 2015. Legislators are notorious for their attempts to run local government from Tallahassee. I know, I served in the House of Representatives for eight years. We were always asked to jump into local government issues where we had little knowledge and little expertise.

This year will apparently be no exception and has, in fact, started earlier than usual. State Senator Jeremy Ring and others have decided that they will once again file a bill to allow cities to withdraw from the coordinated county run traffic light synchronization plans. Senator Ring, who has tried this in the past, is well aware that state law already allows cities to opt out.

In Broward, our municipalities have wisely chosen to allow Broward County to continue to operate the program and we work together with them to help alleviate the ever- increasing issue of local traffic congestion. The Senator and the Broward Legislative Delegation have been briefed countless times on the program and its progress. Our county staff has explained the law in detail to the Senator and to the Delegation staff in Tallahassee and here in Broward.

Currently, our cities and the County have inter-local agreements for many services and traffic synchronization is one of them. Any city that wants out just needs to let the County know they plan to cancel that particular inter-local agreement and it’s on its way to being done.

The municipalities know that if they decide to do traffic light synchronization on their own, not only would it cost each city millions of dollars for equipment, staffing and studies, but there would be a serious traffic nightmare for anyone who drives across any municipal boundary which most of us do every day. Separate municipal systems would result in signal coordination inconsistencies. Those inconsistencies will disrupt and degrade a coordinated traffic network.

The existing traffic signal system also serves as a backbone for other important county services, such as fire-rescue signal pre- emption, ensuring the effective and efficient operation of these services for all county residents.

Broward County continues to make progress in our efforts to coordinate traffic signals through our Green Lights Program. To date, over 55 corridors and 1,100 intersections across the county have been retimed. Signal coordination is a continuous ongoing process and the county and cities in coordination are getting there. So thanks but no thanks, Senator Ring. We’ve got this.


(Stacy Ritter has been a county commissioner representing northwest Broward since 2006.  She served in the Florida House from 1996-2004.)



16 Responses to “Broward Commissioner Warns: State Senate Idea Would Create “Traffic Nightmare””

  1. Chaz Stevens, I am Festivus says:

    I think Sen. Ring would be better served using his JLAC seat to jam an audit up Lauderdale Lakes’ ass.

    The Lakes Commission, for those unaware, is attempting to peel the CRA out of the City Manager Jon Allen’s hands… They don’t trust Allen, nor his PowerPoint wielding faux Finance Director Marie Elianor.

    A recent external audit revealed major issues within the finance department (the very same things MAOS has been decrying for years now — our strident pleas ignored by many (except Ritter and Kiar)).

    At yesterday’s *emergency meeting*, the Commission laid into Allen, and one take away from that meeting seemed to be Allen’s on borrowed time (along with CA Jim Brady — who has been there 30+ years).

    The Lakes CRA is millions in debt, hasn’t launched a major project in years (but they have a nice community tomato garden and pays the CRA Director $150K a year to do just that).

    Think that doesn’t matter to you? Wrong. County taxes subsidize 55% of that madness.

    With Allen’s best buddy termed out (Eric Haynes), and adversary Beverly Williams on the dais, the end is nigh for some down there.

    About fucking time.

    And see, we told you so all along.

  2. Jeremy Ring says:

    Dear Commissioner Ritter. I appreciate the free publicity, but we are not filing a bill on traffic synchronization.

  3. Plain Language says:

    This is the typical county approach to every problem. Fail to fix the problem, then stand in the way of others willing to try.

    The county has failed to fix this problem, diddling around with computer systems, making smart sounding announcements, etc. Yet ineptly, they have failed solve a problem that most other counties figure out with ease. Now they want to confound the efforts of others when their failure to perform is so abundantly clear.

    Over a turf spat, they prefer to keep 2 million people hostage in intolerable traffic.

    Typical county commission move. Then they wonder why the Legislature, cities and citizens distrust them and hold them in such low regard.

  4. filo says:

    I don’t know what #3 is talking about. What is ‘abundantly clear’ is that if each city synced their own traffic devices, this county would be a mess. Ritter has correctly analyzed it while Ring is wrong.

  5. WELL SAID says:

    Ms. Ritter…………

    Please simply go away…..

    Frankly, you are not that bright or clever… may go the way of Ellyn as a lobbyist but I would say she has you firmly beat in the looks dept, which is VERY important to a female lobbyist.

  6. Green light please says:

    The problem is that the County has issues when interacting with State Roads for which it does not synchronize lights. Also separating operations may create issues in the future relative to smart cars interacting with the traffic grid.

  7. Knows For Sure says:

    I agree with Commissioner Ritter. At rush hour, the synchronized light system enables me to travel from I-95 to Pine Island Road via Stirling Road in less time than it takes to travel the same distance on I-95. Once you catch the first green light, maintaining the speed limit will give you green lights the whole way. Such is the case with all main east-west roadways. If the cities choose to synchronize their own lights, there will be no synchronization. Leave well enough alone.

  8. Lamberti is a Criminal says:

    Stacy is lucky she is not in jail. Term limits.


    Actually, term limits don’t start until an office holder leaves office. Thus, whatever conduct you are alleging was obviously not enough to warrant prosecution.

  9. Real Deal says:

    @4 Apparently you do not understand. Under Florida law cities have the responsibility to do traffic engineering. However, back in the 1970’s most Broward cities signed an agreement consolidating all traffic engineering services into one County run department.

    From then forward, it became Broward County’s responsibility to synchronize the traffic signals which the county, not cities, own and maintain. Broward County hs done a miserable with it and Stacy Ritter has no credibility on this issue at all. She just doesn’t like it when Jeremy Ring makes her look insignificant.

  10. westdavieresident says:

    This column about traffic from a Commissioner who voted to approve a massive shopping mall which would have dumped tens of thousands of cars daily on the streets of Weston, Davie, and Southwest Ranches.

    Thankfully the great recession and a financially stressed developer put an end to that project years ago.

  11. Talks like a politician says:

    No amount of synchronization will be of any benefit if (when) the politicians continue to approve high density buildings such as “luxury” rental apartments on every square inch of a property’s space. Huge shopping plazas filled with the same old, same old stores also create massive amounts of traffic.

    Just one example of gridlock is the light at the intersection of US 1 and Commercial Boulevard. About eight cars at a time can get through the light when traveling east/west. The traffic on Commercial and the traffic on US 1 are about equal, so synchronization cannot alleviated backups.

    It is also no fun to sit on SR 84 to make a left hand turn at a light that functions the same way at 11 AM as it does at 11 PM when traffic is light. The green arrow to turn takes forever.
    The jam-up at US 1 and SR 84 going north-south is too painful to even talk about.

    I understand a person in charge of the synchronization project took the money and ran to a foreign country a few years ago. I see no changes in lights since then.

    BTW: Ritter is all talk, no action, unless “What’s in it for Stacy?”is a positive answer.

  12. just sayin says:

    I couldn’t agree with #7 any stronger. I’ve noticed a MAJOR difference heading east-west. I’ve shaved at least 10 minutes off my drive. Sometimes more. I’ve even figured out which roadway is better than others. (McNab/Cypress Creek works best for me.) Luckily, I don’t need to make that drive everyday.
    Also, you realize that if the cities did their own traffic synchronization, they would have to install equipment and hire people to do it. And that means your city taxes will go up.

  13. Alice is clueless says:

    Some smart observations, some pea brains on this site. Relationships between the cities and the county are almost always hostile. Cities have given huge benefit packages to their police and fire over the years and now find themselves desperate for nickels to fund basic services. most cities in Broward sued the county recently to dismantle the Resource Recovery Board so a few lawyers could cash out (yes you Weiss Sorota) and the cities could get a few bucks. How’s that working out for you now Coconut Creek. because of the incompetence of your own staff , the County is being asked to bail you out of a bad decision and cost the rest of the cities big money.
    Ft. Lauderdale has prevented the construction of a Convention center Hotel for 20 years, who needs the jobs? Oh, and the 15 people who were obviously asleep in Dania Beach when they bought their homes next to an airport, stalled the south runway and cost Broward taxpayers millions in delays and legal bills. (I believe Ritter as Mayor, finally got the five vote necessary to move forward and build it).
    The County has its faults but the success airport, seaport, libraries, new courthouse parks etc, suggest they have the staff and expertise to manage traffic synchronizations.


    I’m not sure that Fort Lauderdale can take all the blame for the failure to get a convention center hotel. I watched since the late 1980s as a inept county commission fumbled repeated attempts to get a hotel built.

    The original plans for the center, approved in 1989 after almost a three-year process as commissioners considered sites in Sunrise and the eastern foot of the Las Olas Avenue Bridge in addition to Port Everglades, included a 30-story hotel with 635 rooms. That is 26 years ago and nothing has been built!

  14. Also Attended says:

    The main Broward County concerns in 1995 were convention center hotel, airport expansion, creating jobs and economic development, inability to get along with the cities, and synchronizing the traffic lights.

    20 years later the only thing done on that list is they finally got the airport runway built. That’s about it.

    They’re essentially a do nothing group.

  15. Roger Moore says:

    Davie Rd and State Road 84 intersection, what idiots created this nightmare?

    15 minutes to travel one mile.

    Build more apartments???


    The guilty party is the County Commission and the City Commission from whatever municipality that intersection is in.

  16. Nancy says:

    I think its the drivers in Florida not the lights!!