With a figurative flip of the switch, the people of Douglas County proved that the government can still be petitioned.
The Nevada Department of Transportation activated the traffic signal at Highway 395 and Stephanie Way last week, nearly two weeks ahead of the contractor's schedule and a full eternity earlier than state officials once said it would happen.
When Gardnerville resident Bob Chambers first approached NDOT about installing a light at the intersection where his granddaughter, 17-year-old Bridget Noel Chambers, was killed in a July 2005 accident, he was met with words like "never" and "impossible."
And yet, 18 months and 6,000 signatures later, northbound motorists have fallen into rhythm with the stop-and-go of the red, yellow and green at that very spot.
"It's an event that is still painful to our family, but it's a reward to see that we were able to change the direction of the state government," Chambers said.
Chambers went on to express his regret that the light could not be completed before the intersection took the life of one more - Saratoga Springs' James David Price, 64, who died in an accident there in December, 2006 after work on the signal had just begun.
But had Chambers and the many others who'd joined him never risen their voices at all, there's no telling how many more would've been taken by the same fate.
A new traffic light won't erase the fatalities from the Highway 395 corridor, but it will remove a hazard from one of Douglas County's most treacherous stretches of pavement.
To everyone involved in bringing the traffic light to 395 and Stephanie, thank you.
• This editorial appeared in The Record-Courier