Traffic might be worse elsewhere, but that doesn't mean it can't be better here.
Vehicles backed up for miles on mainland U.S. 278 leading to Hilton Head Island are once again a Saturday afternoon staple.
We've had several years of relative relief since the busy highway was widened to six lanes in 2006 and secondary road projects, such as extending Bluffton Parkway from Burnt Church Road to S.C. 170, were completed.
The traffic jam does represent some good news: The number of visitors to Hilton Head apparently is up this year.
But does their arrival have to bring several hours of misery every Saturday?
That's a question that should be addressed for the sake of arriving tourists, as well as local residents.
It doesn't matter that traffic is worse in New Jersey or that the local chamber of commerce doesn't get many complaints about traffic.
What's wrong with trying to make traveling U.S. 278 during those hours safer and easier?
There ought to be something we can do to make traffic flow better for those four or five hours each week during the busy summer.
Beaufort County oversees the traffic light system between S.C. 170 and the light at Moss Creek.
In 2009, the county installed a new traffic light synchronization system. As described then, the system gave the county 13 different settings to direct traffic, including a low-traffic, nighttime setting; a setting for morning and afternoon rush hours; and a setting for moving traffic out of the area in the event of a hurricane evacuation and for special events, such as the Heritage golf tournament.
That suggests some options might be available to improve traffic flow during specific hours on specific days.
County officials say the system is networked for remote adjustment. A camera system allows them to keep tabs on traffic.
And what impact have the new, wider intersection configurations at Simmonsville Road and S.C. 46 had on traffic flow on U.S. 278 this summer?
Should signals for left-hand turns onto and off U.S. 278 on Saturday afternoons be adjusted to help improve traffic flow?
Is there anything to be done on Hilton Head to improve traffic flow once the highway narrows to four lanes before it splits with the Cross Island Parkway?
Increasing tourism numbers certainly are to be celebrated, but we shouldn't have to resign ourselves and our visitors to sitting in traffic any longer than absolutely necessary.
And that's true no matter what the traffic is like in Washington, Atlanta or Paramus, N.J.