Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Three and a half minutes

The other day I took a trip that required me to get across Main North Road. Occasionally you will see someone riding along that road, toe clips spinning. It is only the suicidal though who will try and turn right using one of the turning lanes. Call me old-fashioned, but I have an inate sense of self-preservation so I will use the pedestrian crossing. If you're not close to it, it can be a bit of a hike to reach it. The next one is easily a kilometer and a half away.

The crossing is near Prospect Library:

I decided to conduct an experiment and time how long it took before the robot inside the lights condescended to let me cross after I had asked its permission by pressing the button.

Three and a half minutes.

It felt like ages. It would have been worse had I not been preoccupied timing it. Waiting always seems to take much longer when you don't know it's going to end - like waiting for a bus without a timetable.

You have to ask what sort of message is being sent to pedestrians when they're asked to wait in the heat for that long without any shade. When cars are finally required to stop, the light doesn't stay red very long and when I crossed, all of the drivers were sitting comfortably with the air conditioner on. The crossing is right next door to the library and so is used by the elderly, children and other visitors to the library.

Having said that, I cannot really complain when I compare my plight with that of a poor woman who had been waiting at this bus stop on North East Road the same day:

I rode past and she stopped me to ask me the time. She explained that she missed the earlier bus and had been waiting there for 25 minutes and "me feet are killing me". The crappy council hadn't even bothered to put a seat there for her. That is one of the problems of having two separate authorities in charge of bus services and bus stops. It is the responsibility of local councils to install bus stops, seats and shelters. The State Government just sticks the pole in the ground.

Anyway, whoever is responsible, it is time for me to write a letter to the council to tell them the story of the lady with the sore feet.


  1. Yes, that bus stop is the pits! Not that I've ever caught a bus from it but I have spent a long time gazing down at it and feeling for the poor people waiting at it in 40C heat.

    The traffic lights near there at the bottom of Galway are terrible as well.

  2. I've written to the council. Hopefully we'll see a bench there soon.