Linglestown Traffic

I know there’s a lot planned for the village, but I have one simple question: What in the hell is wrong with that traffic light at the intersection of Linglestown Road and Colonial Road?

You know the one; at the corner with Sheetz, Weis, and KoKoMo’s Aroogas.  Whenever I’m travelling from Harrisburg, that light turns red.  Always. I have never, ever — in my eleven years of living in the area — made it through that light while it was green.

At first I assumed it was some sort of clever, hidden speed enforcement method.  Maybe there are two pressure sensors, and if you’re going over 40mph, you’ll cycle the light.  Or maybe it’s timed to other area lights, like Second Street in midtown Harrisburg (ever notice how you’ll nail every green light as it changes if you start at Forester and drive exactly 25mph?).  But I’ve tested it at and below the speed limit, and it doesn’t make a difference.  So scratch those ideas.

Then I started thinking that maybe there was some sort of goofy cross traffic, like a vehicle that had turned right on red just before I approached.  But since the intersection is deserted when I drive through (usually around 1am), that’s not likely.  And the consistency of the event slams the book shut on that theory.

My next thought was that maybe the Linglestown planners are just jerks.  But it’s a pretty nice village, and that doesn’t seem like the kind of behavior to fit the community.

So I’m left with two possible theories:

The first, and most ominous, is that Sheetz has secretly infiltrated the highest echelons of our government.  That’s right:  PennDOT.  Somewhere deep in the hidden bureaucratic mazes of PennDOT Galactic Control sits a Sheetz employee whose sole purpose in life is to drive traffic to convenient and friendly Sheetz Locations by diverting adjacent traffic through the timely manipulation of traffic control devices.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped at that damned red light and thought “Well since I’m here, I might as well go inside for some delicious, delicious Sheetz coffee.  I wonder if this morning’s always-fresh pastries are out yet?”  For me personally, that single light has easily diverted several thousand dollars from my checking account to Sheetz over the years.

And maybe it doesn’t stop there.  Our entire Interstate system was mostly built in the 1960s and 1970s.  During that exact same timeframe, Sheetz was rapidly expanding from one location in 1962 to nearly 100 stores at the close of the 1970s.  Through the marvels of modern highway engineering, our interstate highways provide speedy access through convenient, easy-to-find interchanges.  And were are most Sheetz stores found?  At convenient, easy-to-find locations! Sheetz has 344 locations spread out across multiple states; you know what ELSE spreads out across multiple states?  The Interstate system! Coincidence?  I think not.  Could Sheetz’s founders have had a hand in the development of our modern roadway infrastructure? Maybe that stretch of abandoned Turnpike was actually a small fragment of some long-forgotten Sheetz drive-thru experiment, the scale of which we may never truly appreciate.

Perhaps selling delicious food, inexpensive gas, and the best gas-station coffee you’ll ever drink wasn’t enough; perhaps Sheetz has had a larger, more sinister plan in the works for longer than we can imagine!  If they’ve managed to infiltrate our commonwealth’s Department of Transportation — a prestigious, well-organized government entity whose efficiency and friendly service have made it the object of envy among developed nations around the world — who’s to say where their reach ends?  You may think that South Front Street complex is pretty spiffy right now, but just wait until you can order an MTO while while waiting for your number to come up in the queue.  Motor vehicle registration?  More like Awesome 12-Inch Meatball On Wheat (With Parmesan) Registration!

The second possibility is that someone wired the light wrong.

Either way, please fix it.

7 thoughts on “Linglestown Traffic”

  1. I can assure you that village planners have nothing to do with the traffic light at Colonial and Linglestown roads. Also, IMO, that light is beyond the boundary of modern-day Linglestown – the historic village only encompasses a small section of Linglestown Road. Unofficially, the village’s western boundary is at Colonial Club Drive.

    Your best bet for getting the traffic light’s timing reviewed is to contact Lower Paxton Twp. manager George Wolfe (gwolfe@lowerpaxton-pa.gov; 657-5600).

  2. Chestnut Street coming down Second in HBG. In 5 years of living down there, I may have gotten green twice.

    Oh, and when I was in college, Ebensburg had a speed sensitive light on Rt 22. Go over 45 and it immediately changed. Bunk!

  3. @Bill – thanks for the tip. I’ll shoot him an email. I wasn’t sure exactly where Linglestown ends, but I’ve always heard people refer to the Giant along 39 as the Linglestown Giant, so I just assumed it stretched out that far.

    @Ed Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever hit a green on Chestnut either. It’s always red. What is going on around here?

  4. Interesting post. I have managed to avoid hitting red lights at this intersection from time to time. I assume that the light is weight activated at night, because the moment you roll into the intersection (on Colonial Road) it changes for you.

    Not sure about the daytime. I’d imagine that is timed. It’s amazing how often you don’t get the green. Is it during high traffic times? If it is, that’s just a terrible intersection anyway.

    Side note, I think, unofficially, the Linglestown border really should extend to Colonial Road. I associate that area with Linglestown more than anything else.

    Also, that KoKoMos is still KoKoMos.

  5. I refer to the traffic lights along Linglestown Rd as COORDINATED STOP lights. Any conspiracy is probably keeping traffic from moving at even a moderate pace.

    I’ve been driving Linglestown Road for more than twenty years. In that time the number of traffic lights has gone from only three or four to the twelve or so that exist now. (There will be more soon.) Back in the earlier days some of the lights were set to ‘flash’ during the nighttime hours.

    I’ve heard that the townships traffic control systems don’t work (aren’t coordinated) together. Going from township to township normally results in an unexpected ‘RED’ at the first light.

  6. I cannot tell you how excited I am at this post. I am a fellow conspiracy theorist on this very subject. Late at night (2am…3am), when there is absolutely NO traffic, for NO apparent reason, while driving East on Linglestown Road (specifically from Giant towards the square); I have observed this very phenomenon. Like you, it has become an event so deeply stimulating my curiosity that, the moment I pass over the hill by the entrance to Forest Hills, my senses become as finely tuned as a prey being stalked by an unknown predator in the deepest darkest jungle.

    And though my imagination has not carried me quite as far as a “Sheetzian” government infiltration…I have theorized the speed trap idea based on these observations:

    Observation 1 – If you are traveling the speed limit on that stretch of Linglestown Road (45mph) you cannot make that light, even in its yellow state (which, if you weren’t aware, when approaching a yellow light, as long as your two front tires cross the while line before the light turns red, you are legally passing through the intersection).

    Observation 2 – At no point have I ever observed another vehicle either completing or having just completed a right turn from Colonial Road, or sitting at the red-light on Colonial Road waiting for the light to change.

    Observation 3 – I have observed on several occasions, a friendly officer of the law sitting slightly past Kokomo’s. Now, whether this gentleman is there to enforce a government placed speed trap, or to catch those who might attempt to drive from Kokomo’s intoxicated, I cannot sure.

    I am sure, however, that this phenomenon…though slightly puzzling and interesting at first…has become a source of annoyance and frustration when attempting to get home from a long day/late night/need eggs and milk for breakfast trip to the grocery store. Though, knowing there is someone else in the village that has witnessed the plight of the Sheetz Light fills me with hope and encouragement to continue to endure.

    And next time I return from a late grocery run, I shall set my cruise control at 45 with pride, knowing that, though I may have to stop at the bottom of the “Sheetzian Abyss,” when I have climbed the long hill on the other side, I will be that much closer to home.

  7. @Harry, I think it is weight-activated. But as if like the switch for eastbound Linglestown road was mis-wired as a switch for Colonial Road.

    @George: I think that chunk of road is going to wind up being widened in the near future, because traffic and development will only go up as long as there are still open fields / woods nearby. As long as they straighten out the lights, I don’t mind.

    @Brian: I too thought this might be some sort of clever timing-based speed enforcement. But I’ve deliberately driven 35 (well below the speed limit) from the previous light with the same results.

    I emailed George Wolfe (see above). Maybe he’ll be able to shed some light (ha!) on the issue.

    But I still think my Sheetz theory is best.

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