Monday, October 12, 2009

Things in London that annoy/baffle me - an occasional series

I timed how long the traffic lights stayed red near my home the other day out of interest. I happened to notice that the light has been staying red for an inordinate amount of time recently when I've crossed the road at this set of lights. I mention this because of Diamond Geezer's post here about the 'experiments' that are taking place with various sets of traffic lights around London. I too have noticed the Orwellian sight of sinister looking men (and women) in uniform, holding weird thermometer-type instruments and phalanxed by tough looking blokes, looking serious while standing at pedestrian crossings. I was tempted to point out to them that the traffic lights near my place have stayed red for precisely ONE MINUTE AND FIFTEEN MUTHAFU***N' SECONDS. I timed it. Seventy-five seconds by my watch. Seventy-five seconds of my life that I'll never get back.
Does that not strike you as frankly ludicrous, or am I the only one? What followed when the lights went green was that it stayed green for approximately...I don't know, twenty seconds, maybe. Perhaps even less (I didn't time exactly how long it stayed green). The net result, unsurprisingly, was that people simply walk across anyway after, let's say, thirty seconds of waiting while the light is red - and continue to do so. By the time said pedestrians cross the road, the light is still red, of course. Which completely negates the reason for having a traffic lights system in the first place. And anyway, what kind of nutter would stand at a traffic light for the whole seventy-five seconds of it being red? (Well, admittedly I did, but that was because I was timing it).
I seem to remember that when I was living in Bethnal Green, there was one specific set of traffic lights that took even longer than seventy-five seconds to stay in 'standing position'. Which begs the question - am I the only one, or have other people noticed that different traffic lights tend to take different amounts of time to change from red to green compared to other lights? We should be told.
Which is why I find the notion in DG's article that pedestrians are getting too much time to cross frankly incomprehensible. So bollocks to Boris if I'm officially supposed to wait even more while the light is red.

No comments: