SOME THINGS NEVER change --

and among them are too many of the District's traffic lights. We are not talking here about your occasional stuck switch or blown bulb; we are talking days and weeks of mal-to-nonfunctioning traffic lights at important, busy, downtown intersections. Some of these are now so familiar to regular drivers that the cars just blow right on through the red, on the assumption or hope that the regulars traveling through the green will dodge anything in the way.

Your favorite route probably has its own traditional trouble spot. During late August, ours was right outside the window, at 15th and L, where pedestrians had to dash and swivel all day for more than a week. Now there's another light on 15th that alternates every evening between being out of sync with every other light in line with it and being forever red. The other night, a police cruiser was among the cars plowing through the red light. But still it doesn't get fixed.

There's no election for mayor this year, so you can't expect the same response that potholes get every four years. Still, what better time to complain than now, as six council seats are up for election? At least the council could do a little casework for you with city hall's executive branch.

This is not funny, and it's not small potatoes. When someone is killed at one of these intersections, maybe it will become an official "crisis" of the closing-the-barn-door-after variety. No light should be left unrepaired for more than a matter of hours. City hall has got to send in those crews fast.