By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

In the quest for energy efficiency, I think it's high time for someone much smarter than me to look at the video-activated stoplights that now adorn most cities, including Hays.

Or the sequencing that is in place at some lighted intersections.

Let's face it, about the time you get your vehicle rolling at the current speed limit, it's time to hit the brakes -- again.

Sure, I understand the logic of video activated lights -- keeping traffic flowing in the most efficient manner.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

All too often, a side street shuts down a major thoroughfare simply because a couple cars pulled up and then turned right.

I hate to think how many times "ghost" vehicles have triggered the lights at 17th and Vine. Fog is especially notorious about setting off the lights.

Having grown up in the "big city," I became especially fond of the timed lighting system that was in place. There, if you were driving the speed limit and in the pack, so to speak, you could zoom through light after light after light.

It was only when you broke rhythm, driving too fast or too slow, for example, to get caught by the lights.

Even Main Street in Hays used to be that way. Now, it's stop, stop and go, then stop.

You know the pattern.

What's especially troubling are the lights at WalMart.

There, you have two lanes of turning traffic, both of which get green arrows to carry the crush of traffic.

When that period ends, the turning lanes get a red light -- prohibited from turning.

Why on earth would the lights turn red when only two, sometimes three vehicles are southbound for the entire duration of the lights?

Especially when any number of vehicles start stacking up, burning fuel needlessly.

Wouldn't it be better to have the left-turn arrows, and then yield on green?

I mean, it's good enough for so many other sites, why wouldn't it be good for that intersection as well.

And yes, I'm still seething over the decision to close the left turn lane on the north side of WalMart, making people go even farther to the north to make a turn, head back south and then into the parking lot.

It seems to me, foolish as it might be, that if we are concerned about conservation, that these issues should be incorporated into designs of highway and byways.

Rather than send someone a couple blocks north, let's make it quicker and easier and more efficient.

Let's no longer jog just a bit to unnecessarily go around a bridge pillar when going straight would essentially be the same.

It might only be a drop or two of fuel for individual motorists, but when you count the thousands of people who make the same trip, then you're starting to talk significant quantities.

We need to do a better job of conserving, and this is just one way we can do it.

The individual results will be tiny, but add them up over the year and the amount will surprise us all.