004 Beautiful Traffic Lights
The original NY traffic signals were monumental Beaux Arts platforms standing in the middle of the avenues where police manually changed signage.
Now traffic lights are now the most ubiquitous bit of bad design in The City. Recently updated with LED lighting they are now, at least, not horribly inefficient or hard to see. But they are still driven by clunky mechanical switches (which is what we can hear within those green boxes on some poles) and difficult to adapt to the time of day, seasonal changes, or even emergencies.
And while we are making them beautiful, it would be nice to solve the problem of mounting height: the first stopped car can never see the light, unless that car is a convertible.
It’s time for really beautiful, high-functioning traffic lights. A competition would produce great designs, and a long-term contract to provide them, maintain them and to recycle the existing ones would make it affordable.