By Jeff Crane

Jeff Crane

The stench and mantra about Maricopa is not from the lovable Milky Way dairy (the cows are quite happy and so is their milk) or our valuable ethanol or dusty egg industries. Or corn. You moved here; deal with it.But the persistent aroma emanates from the contempt and out-and-out disregard for:

Red Lights. Or Red Scare.

Just observe or pause in any intersection.

I’ve NEVER seen this neglect of the red-light law ever ever … Not even the “California-roll orange rule.” Not in major cities, not in one-light towns, not in small towns have I’ve seen such total disregard for the Red Light than da Copa.

Apparently the Red Light is there for a reason. They stop death. Gore. Funerals. Sadness. Grief. It’s the Red Scare.
Sorry but “it was orange” just ain’t cutting it when you’re busted. The famous kinda yellow-to-red excuse doesn’t help when you cause another fatal-collision on the 347 and Riggs or John Wayne and Edison.

No matter what, no matter when, no matter where, I’ve seen 100% of drivers go through red lights. OK, maybe 98%. The other 2% were the ambulance drivers going to a 347-Riggs fatality. Scientific, no. Eyeball, yes. Understandable, a huge 25-ton 18-wheeler can’t exactly stop within 100 feet on Smith-Enke hauling lumber stresses for another new subdivision. Then that ONE bumper-sucker thinks: “Why can’t I?” Then another!

From 347 into Fry’s or onto Edison to find old shorts in Goodwill or 347 turning to Honeycutt and, especially, east onto Smith-Enke from John Wayne, drivers love to run red lights. Seems like the Summer Olympics 200-meter high hurdles and get a thrill to be home 34 seconds earlier than your neighbor? OK. Maybe because they are waiting on 347 with bladder issues because someone ran a red light and caused an accident and shut down 347.

Not just once a day and not just twice daily, it’s almost laughable to see red-scare runners, without break, every friggin’ red light! Or every intersection! I almost want to jump out of my car and applaud those who stop in the left-turn lane when it’s yellow! I’d give them a Culver’s gift card and – if they were using their turn signal, a bonus bag of ice.

Yes, when drivers are halfway into an intersection during the yellow light, they are legally allowed to “carry on” and turn left.

Cool. That’s the law. However. The driver behind them – picking their nose – magically gripped the bumper like Whamo Monster Magnet toys and follow like a kindergartner classmate waiting for recess. OK. A 1% approval.

Then. THEN. A 1% approval Camry driver, worried and following her daughter’s first-driver home, tags along as the oncoming cross-traffic honks, flips them off and portends to T-bone the Camry’s door. They feel empowered by the magnet; not ruled by the red – or yellow – light. At that point, the evil 347 is blocked up to Wild Horse Pass and the festering cycle continues.

You observe and – as the green light switches for you – you’ll shake your head as someone runs the red scare. And another.

Flipping them off doesn’t help. And just not worth it. Now it’s time to mention the stop signs.

Jeff Crane is a resident of Maricopa.


  1. the main issue with red lights is azdot has failed and is still failing to time the lights on rt 347 north and south. the lights at rt 347 at frys cross streets at time is only 5 seconds for driver to get thru. maybe azdot or vice mayor have rt 347 lights at frys market place and panda drive thru have one side get 15 seconds to drive thru red light . then other side get 15 seconds to drive thru . this would clear the intersection of traffic. s of now u have both sides of traffic going thru intersection and cars being stuck in intersection. what say azdot and mayor?

  2. 100% Agree! Thank you for writing this.

    As a long-time resident, I have noticed this only getting worse every year. MPD needs to step up traffic enforcement altogether. It’s the wild west out here; quite literally, anything goes.

    I do have one question that I’m hoping someone can answer: Is there a reason that the traffic lights on the 347 are not timed so that you can drive without Not for nothing…that might actually help.

    • I can answer that question iheartMaricopa. The real reason is not enough people have DIED. When the death toll rises to such that the city council will notice, then something will be done to help. Until then, it’s falling on def ears.

  3. I agree the light timing is an issue I have lived here for over 10 years and it’s like they are still timed for when the speed limit through the city was 25MPH. Anyone remember that?
    Also IMHO the amount of time the yellow is yellow is shorter then any other city in the area, 238 & 347 is the worse that is a wide intersection but the yellow is very short.

    Of course the red light running sometimes is just like the acritical writer has said just obvious running the light. I believe that things could improve with some minor adjustments to the lights I truly do not understand why it is taking over 10 years to do!

  4. Red scare? On numerous occasions I have seen people stop at a red light and if there is no cross traffic they just go on through like it’s a flashing yellow light. I watched a guy once going west on smith enke stop at the left turn arrow into the Villages. They then immediately ignored the red arrow and made the left turn after not seeing any oncoming cars. I’ve never seen such blatant disregard for traffic lights anywhere than I’ve seen in Maricopa. Shameful.