One of the traffic engineers being arraigned today for shutting down four intersections on the day that EAA went out on strike was featured last January in a Downtown News story on the city's automated traffic system. Kartik Patel was reporter Chris Coates' guide through ATSAC, the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control Center four stories below City Hall East. How could Patel and colleague Gabriel Murillo sabotage the system, if indeed they did? From the story: "In fact, the center is staffed with only 18 people from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., although bigger crews are called in for special events like the L.A. Marathon or the Grammys. The rest of the time, the computer runs everything, and engineers can check in via laptops."
Patel was also in an LA Weekly piece from 2004.
* Afternoon update: Patel and Murillo pleaded not guilty and were allowed to remain free on their own recognizance, provided they not access city computers or enter a DOT facility without their attorneys. Several city workers attended the hearing as support. CBS2
Tuesday's Times story: They aren't accused of turning off the traffic lights but of resetting extra-long red lights to disrupt flow in the area.
Photo: Gary Leonard/Downtown News