Yeah, traffic sucks.

Traffic is probably one of our favorite things to complain about. Billings is growing and one of those growing pains is dealing with congested roads. Roundabouts  - love 'em or hate 'em - are proven to help traffic, but they can't put them everywhere. So, stoplights it is.

Traffic Lights at Hesper & 32nd
Tim Chamberlain, Townsquare Media
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We're all impatient.

I'm no better than anyone when it comes to frustration with stoplights. Some of them seem to take an eternity to change from red to green, especially when you're in a hurry. And we're always in a hurry, right? Then there are the turn lights that seem to last mere seconds, letting just a few cars turn after each long wait. We asked you about your most-hated stoplights in Billings and here are some of the top responses.

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Google Street View
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8th and Central, heading west.

Actually, we could include most of the stoplights on Central on this list, per your nominees for the worst stoplights in Billings. The light at Buck's can be a pain, as is the light at 6th St W. Minimal turn lanes on this stretch of Central generally add to driving frustration. And what about that stoplight by Target? Kayla J. wrote,

The stupid light by the bank exit right before target west end. Turns red for no reason and stays red forever

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Google Street View
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Ah, Lewis... the secret shortcut through town.

Drivers reported frustration with the stoplight at 15th and Lewis Ave, especially at night. I've noticed that lights are timed differently in the evenings, early morning hours, and weekends. One comment mentioned that those long-timed lights are set at 90 seconds, adding, "although it seems like 9 minutes." We concur.

Credit: Google
Credit: Google
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Main Street, Heights.

Where do we start with this one? It's one of the busiest highways in Montana, with thousands of cars flying by each day. Readers mentioned annoying stoplights at Hilltop and Main, Airport and Main, 6th Ave N and Main, etc. One of the best comments came from Pam L., who wrote,

By Metra turning to go up 1st ave north. I've analyzed every car at Berries Cherries 17 times over. Spend half of my life there. Ugggghh

Multiple drivers expressed frustration with the green turn light from Main to Airport Road as being so quick that only three or four cars get through before it turns red again. Annoying, for sure.

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Google Street View
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Monad and 24th St W

This intersection is another prime example of a short turn light combined with heavy traffic. It seems to take forever to get through the junction when heading west, and it's worse in the winter when traction is poor and vehicles can barely get moving. I've waited here for what seems like forever. Staring over at Buffalo Wild Wings... wishing for wings and a beer, instead of stalling my life away in traffic.

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Google Street View
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State Street and 1st Ave S.

State Street is typically an efficient east-west route, but the light at State and 1st can take for-ev-er, especially at night, early morning, or on weekends.

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Google Street View
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30th St and Montana Ave

This stoplight is my personal nemesis. When I'm coming to work in the early morning hours, I always seem to hit it red and it usually stays that way forever. The timing on this light seems odd for a couple of reasons... 1) there is usually zero traffic at 5:15 AM and 2) it's basically a T intersection, not a 4-way. I make a complete stop, check for traffic, make sure a cop isn't nearby, and simply drive through the red light. I do this multiple times a week.

Photo by Ian Anderson on Unsplash
Photo by Ian Anderson on Unsplash
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Suck it up and be patient.

One commenter mentioned that our traffic lights are actually designed to slow traffic (I assume for speed/safety reasons), not make it flow faster. And Nana D. wrote a nice reminder that perhaps waiting an extra ninety seconds at the light may have changed your destiny in some way.

God is good. You never know what He may have protected you from by sitting there.

Traffic in Billings, frustrating as it may be at times, is honestly not that bad. Have you been to Bozeman lately? Or Missoula? Ugh. Most of us can get anywhere we need to be, even across town, in less than 20 minutes.

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