lunes, 13 de febrero de 2012

The timing of the traffic lights


First, a couple of curiosities about traffic lights: there are about 34,000 traffic lights in Barcelona; the first one was installed at the intersection of Balmes and Provença among criticism about if it was necessary and many people had the opinion that those lights would have no future in the city.

I remember that some years ago there was a controversy in La Vanguardia about the time that the traffic lights remained green for pedestrians. Most people's opinion was that the time for pedestrians to cross was actually too short, especially on wide streets as Aragon or the Diagonal.

I remember that the Council promised then to improve traffic light timing and I haven't heard about the subject in quite a long time. I am not sure if now pedestrians have more time to cross, but what I know for sure is that it is virtually impossible to cross the streets after the green light starts to flash. I am an average, healthy, non-disabled "young adult". I wouldn't like to figure out what it must be for an elder person or someone using crutches, for example!

I have done a little checking myself and it could be said that you'd better start running if the little green man starts to blink while you are crossing the street. In the corner of Sicília and Aragó, for example, you have less than 6 seconds to cross 7 lanes. And in most streets of the Eixample flashing time is about 3 seconds! That is a bit too tight! Is that perhaps to encourage sport among the citizens?


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