Transportation Policy

Looks to Me Like You've Been Doing Some Unlicensed Figurin'

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A citizen in Raleigh, North Carolina presented the city a proposal to install traffic lights near his home. One city official responded by calling for the citizen to be investigated for what basically amounts to doing math without a license.

Cox and his North Raleigh neighbors are lobbying city and state officials to add traffic signals at two intersections as part of a planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road.

After an engineering consultant hired by the city said that the signals were not needed, Cox and the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners' Associations responded with a sophisticated analysis of their own…

The eight-page document with maps, diagrams and traffic projections was offered to buttress their contention that signals will be needed at the Falls of Neuse at Coolmore Drive intersection and where the road meets Tabriz Point / Lake Villa Way.

It did not persuade Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the state DOT, to change his mind about the project. Instead, Lacy called on a state licensing agency, the N.C. Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, to investigate Cox…

Cox has not been accused of claiming that he is an engineer. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report "appears to be engineering-level work" by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer…

Lacy said he had told the group last year that it should hire an engineer to make its case. He said he was surprised to see engineering-quality work in a report that was not signed by a licensed professional.

"When you start applying the principles for trip generation and route assignment, applying judgments from engineering documents and national standards, and making recommendations," that's technical work a licensed engineer would do, Lacy said.

Lacy is right. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if we let just regular, unlicensed people use sophisticated arguments when petitioning their government.

(Thanks to Michael Chaney for the link.)