Monday, July 23, 2012

Pedestrian crossing causes stopped traffic

We all knew it was going to happen. Well I say "all" obviously not for the engineers who fitted the pedestrian lights to the junction of Mitton Street and Vale Road; just the people whose opinion doesn't matter - the people who use that road.

Someone decided to cross the road at this junction and quite correctly used the pedestrian crossing provided for that very function - it stopped all the traffic in Mitton Street.

'But isn't that the purpose of a set of lights?' I hear you ask. Well yes but Mitton Street is a one-way street with two lanes. The right turns at a 90° to the right into Vale Road, the left does the same but to the left into York Street. Only passage to the right can be blocked.

So why did the left-hand lane traffic stop too? Because of the placement of the lights. Due to the sharp bends and narrowness of the road the right-hand lights need to be placed so that they are viewable to oncoming traffic from a distance down the road that means the one pole has been set-up to be almost directly in the middle of the splitting triangle that directs traffic left and right.

Traffic approaching in either lane sees only one traffic light in front of them and instinctively obey it when red. The joke is that the engineers have switched the green light for one of the permitted variants with an arrow pointing to the right; except that's not needed as there is no point at which traffic may move to the right when it can't to the left. However as there is no permitted alteration of the red indicator it's simply a solid red and appears to block off both lanes to those who don't spot that there is no supporting signal post on the other side of the left-hand lane.

As a vehicular user we're trained to obey the light signals and when red we stop unless there is a clear indication (such as a filter arrow) that we can proceed. No such indication exists here it's merely a lack of signals.

Oh joys and the supermarket for which all these have been created isn't even being built yet.


Orphi said...

In fairness, the engineers probably just put the sign wherever they were ordered to put it. That order probably came from somebody who's only ever seen the street on a black and white map…

FlipC said...

Except in ye olden days an engineer being asked to fit something in such an obviously unsuitable position would check and would be deemed knowledgeable enough not to have their request brushed off.

We're slowly sinking into jobsworthyness and only obeying orders - not a good stance to take.