29/05/2021

Traffic Lights To Be Set To Red In London

Cars, like Brexit and Marmite, polarise people. It seems that the middle-aged Jag driving sort are on one side and the pink-haired environmentalists are on the other. Real life is, as ever, somewhere in between the extremes.

The latest battle ground is traffic lights with the news that some parts of London will see the traffic lights set to red to give priority to pedestrians. The status quo is that the default position for traffic lights is with a red man telling people not to cross.

The new trial will see the lights resting with a green man and it will change to red when traffic is detected.

It’s only a trial, which means it is too early to know if this is a good idea or not but that won’t have stopped people making their minds up already.

Anything that saves me having to push the button to cross the road is a good move. That was a gross activity even before a pandemic. Who knows which nose-picker just used that button before you.

One worry is that more cars will have to idle. If you are worrying about saving the planet you don’t want cars burning petrol to go nowhere. One argument is that making life less fun for the motorist will make more of them stop driving, but if you follow that logic the London Mayor should bring in a system where anyone using a car has to submit to a titty twister when they cross the North and South Circular.

Better flow of people should be the goal but that doesn’t have to be people in cars. A plan to increase and improve walking in London would be worthwhile. I’m just not sure that waiting at traffic lights is the reason people stay home. I have never thought about going for a walk and talked myself out of it because of crossings. I have worried about crime, safety, and even the quality of the air. I would pick a route down the back roads. Red traffic lights will line the streets with iddling vehicles so walking would be even less fun.

There is one issue with this idea that my mind keeps coming back to. If you’re going for a walk, you come up to a cross where the red man is doing his thing but there are no cars around. You’d walk across.

If you were a car, pulling up to a red light but with no pedestrians there, you can’t move.

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