Please press the button and wait, wait, wait.

Adam Fularz

I am a foreigner from East Europe. Exactly from Poland. I write because I am disturbed by something which is seen as a most obvious norm in England. It goes about the illegal trasspassing of streets at the red light. It led to the situaion that the cars go on the left side of the road and that is why I am very caucious when I want to cross the road. I think that one day I will look in the wrong direction (that in the good direction that I larned in Poland) and I will be severly injured. That is why I would like to use the traffic lights, but no one does it.

Pedestrians mostly simply cross the road as if there has been no sign to halt. In fact it is no wonder that no one waits, because for the reason unknown to me, these lights change only after many minutes. No one wants to wait, and I also was severly discouraged after using one such traffic system. I pressed the button, and for a very long time the lamp”wait” was blinking.

I pressed this button many times, but no direct action followed, although to my very simple logic, it should. Only ofter a very very very long while (maybe 3 minutes= 180 seconds), it did finally changed. That was definitely too long. In Poland I was learnt to wait no more than 2 minutes. Maybe I could wait even 3 minutes when the pedestrian lights were automatic, that is there were no buttons, and the pedestrian passage was allowed automaticly evry 2-3 minutes or more often.

That such system is working, could be recognised on the crowd that was gathering on the both sides of the road. No one was trying to tresspass illegally. This was often punished by a fine. I never dared if the crowd and traffic was dense (or if dared, then only after I carefully assured that there was completely no traffic and no sign of any police).

Perhaps You cannot easily imagine how it is dicfiicult to cross the road illegally if the cars are coming from the directions that you are learn not to anticipate that they could. I suppose that such coonstatation is quite obvious for most of th „continental Europeans” but obvoiusly not for the British. Perhaps it is as wel dificcult as for foreigners, also to small children, to cross the road full of cars moving so quickly.

I have somewhere heard that a 6-years old child has a memory of a dog. If then this is true, then my dog cannot cross the frequented road without being driven over (but the less frquented road in front of my house he has crossed over many times, luckilly withiut accidents). We had also a tomcat, who for many years was daily crossing a road and he succeded it for nearly 10 years.

Anyway, this would be not possible if the road would be more frequented one. And this is also hardly possible for a human, which has to run in order to suit to little space between crowded cars. A cat would be not so smart to pass through te first lane and stop in the middle of a road, on a strip between lanes, to wait for the cars from opposite direcion to pass- he would try to cross it at once. Maybe many children tries to do the same.

British pedestrian lights system is highly dangerous to potential users and its properties- long waiting time, no potential users wanting to engage in the waiting activity- discourages any potential users- including those that such light system should use- eldery people (not to be senn on British streets) and children (also not to be seen). Maybe such system, through the risk it offers to less quick and smart pedestrians- had led to some kind of social exclusions of those who are to slow to react?

British traffic lights system should change- to the benefit of those who would rather to wait a little bit and cross the street safely. Eldery people, foreginers, children - why not to think also about them? Currently the system is not designed to suit the needs of those who should in first instance use it: childern, eldery people. Do you really think that they are always albe to „PRESS THE BUTTON” and to wait for so long?

In my country the „press the button lights” are a compete novelty and are definitelly put in the complete outskirts of the town, whre traffic is less dense. City centers and main roads are mostly free of „press the button” approach and offer to pedestrians a dense cycle of green light generated automaticly, evry, lest us say, every 2- 3 minutes.

I suspect, that in Britain sometimes even 300 seconds (5 minutes) is possible, hi hi, of course after the button was pressed. Very inviting fot all the eldery and young. Imagine a young skater comming back from the skatepark home. Will he wait? Not really. He might be tired, exhausted, often drunk, or even after use of other substances (even in Poland drug use is a very big problem among teenagers), and is a possible victim of the so designed road sytem.

I think tht a global change of respective policy is needed within a short time. A deep discussion is neded and decisions should be promptly done. Every day I walk to my office I have two frequented roads to pass, and this proves to be very difficult. I would not send my kid to go the same way. I wonder how the kids here get to their schools, because they are not at all to be seen on the streets? In Poland they walk or rode by bus. In England I do not really know, I have until now not seen any more then absolutely marginal quantities of children walking to and from schools on the streets- a picture that is so obvouos and easy to see in Poland.

Young, sporty people dominate. And also only they, as it seems, may without risk run through the roads. Perhaps walking in Britain is a transport mode reserved only to people in good physical condition? Or for those who like to wait, wait wait, but such are, as I have already noticed on my arrival here 10 days ago, are not to be seen. Press the button, please! And wait- wait, wait- wait all this time.

Posted by Adam Phoo on 05:57. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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