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8:38am on Monday, 20th April, 2015:

Traffic Lightener


There's a set of temporary three-way traffic lights on the way to Colchester station. It should be two-way, because one of the ways is off a small estate that only sees traffic when people use it as a rat run to get past the queues of vehicles caused by, oh, let's say an inconvenient set of traffic lights. Leaving that aside though, the reason the temporary traffic lights are there in the first place is because of work being done under the adjacent footpath. Some of the earth that's been dug out of a hole has been put on the road (so as not to block the entrance to people's houses). This constitutes an obstacle to traffic, hence the need for temporary traffic lights.

The thing is, this earth on the road takes up less room than would a parked motorbike. If you can park a motorbike without the need for temporary traffic lights, you don't need them for soil on the kerb.

This is often the case with roadworks. The space they take up on their own is less than that occupied by a parked car. OK, so when people are working on it then perhaps you need extra space so they don't get hit by motorists (or indeed by the vehicles they're driving), but if you plan to be away for a whole weekend doing NO WORK AT ALL, there's no need for traffic lights if your stuff takes up less space than a Ford Fiesta.

Ah, but without the lights, how would people know there were roadworks?

They don't NEED to know there are roadworks! All they need to know is that they can't drive there.

Well how do you tell them that?

You tell them that the same way as everyone else who has parked a car on that road tells them not to enter a particular space: park a car in it. OK, so you don't use a real car, you use a a fibreglass, car-shaped shell. So long as it looks like a car, though, job done.

The particular stretch of road I got stuck at this morning has no parking on the side where the footpath is being dug up, so putting a car there might seem a little odd. However, as I've seen a skip placed in exactly the same spot with nothing more than a pair of lights dangling off the car-side corners to warn drivers that it exists, I believe that traffic flows can cope...

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Copyright © 2015 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).