Pleasant technology: Tech topics affect life east of Cooper

  • Thursday, December 12, 2013

1. Should Mount Pleasant elected officials use their smartphones during official town meetings?

This tech topic is a hot issue around here.

There ws an article by The Post and Courier’s Robert Behre last week on the subject, reporting that town council has asked the town manager and attorney to submit findings and recommendations. They want to decide what actions, if any, should be taken to limit or ban the use of smartphones by members of council and public service committees during official meetings.

Behre writes, “(Mount Pleasant mayor) Page said sitting next to someone busily using a phone is “difficult,” but so is treating other colleagues with little respect or calling about town business late at night when there’s no emergency.”

Mayor Page has said she doesn’t see the need for an ordinance on this issue, just a call for common courtesy as well as common sense. Who wants to be addressing the lawmakers of their town only to see them distracted by a buzz or jingle on their phone? Let’s put citizens above technology and keep town meetings pleasant.

2. Computer synchronized traffic lights on the so-called By-Pass.

Try driving south on Highway 17 as Wando High School dismisses and you would swear there is no expensive, computerized traffic signal system, but my sources with the town tell me there is. The signals are tied together in what is called an adaptive system in which the cameras and computers count vehicles and adjust to the flow. So what’s the problem? The sheer volume of traffic from the state’s largest high school overwhelms the system. The result is stop-and-go without any steady flow. This is bad for business as well as quality of life.

At least one town council member is looking into this issue with the town’s chief traffic engineer. I timed my drive the other day at dismissal time from the high school to Shem Creek: 25 minutes. A friend who lives off Bees Ferry Road in far West Ashley makes it from there to Shem Creek in 20 minutes. From my perspective, the technology synchronizing the lights needs some serious tweaking. This is Mount Pleasant, not Buckhead, so let’s tweak the technology and keep life here pleasant.

Will Haynie has published more than 400 oped columns as a feature columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News when it was owned by the New York Times. Find him on Twitter at @willhaynie or email him at Haynie.will@gmail.com.

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