01 May 2007

Red, amber, green: how difficult can it be?

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike, a culture seems to be developing in the city centre, one that places disproportionate value in the pitiful gains that come from going through a traffic light that has 'just' changed to red. A sort of collective reasoning along the lines of 'red is the new amber' seems to have taken hold.

The various junctions along Princess St are examples of this.

Perhaps part of the problem is 'structural' - in other countries, turning times at junctions are regulated explicitly by the traffic lights - with filters for all directions. Here the position is 'it is OK if the road is clear', which is great until people begin to make 'selfish' choices, ie abusing the system.

The day before yesterday I got confrontational. I saw the light change and quick off the mark I advanced. A car coming from Portland St on my right, having seen the light change (green for me, red for him) but wanting to turn into Princess St., decided to carry on regardless - as if I didn't exist. I gesticulated wildly to signal that I wasn't stopping... eventually he gave up and stopped awkardly, past the line, at half-turn (phew!). I felt slightly foolish afterwards - my self-preservation instinct re-asserting itself, belatedly - but also somewhat satisfied to have achieved such a petty victory.

Each day, its battle...

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