Lights, Camera, Ticket

Lights, Camera, Ticket

Childer's Road - 2019 AD
Childer's Road - 2019 AD
As I avoided the races by driving through some of the less well-known (to me) routes of Galway city centre last week, I was appalled by the number of new traffic lights that seem to have sprung up at every intersection, often midway on a stretch between two other sets of lights().

Some roundabouts have been reorganised to become multiple traffic light zones. They are now confusing, delaying, pointless, dangerous…I could go on.

My personal campaign against traffic lights continues apace. By which I mean that I merely refused to sign a recent petition calling for more lights in the John's Square area. Otherwise, I haven't done anything but moan about them in general.

However, an editorial in the Washington Times caught my eye last month. In it, we are told that an idiotic city authority has farmed out it's traffic lights to a greedy  private company which is in charge of collecting fines (of which the city receives a percentage).

Echoes of the clamper wars perhaps?

I sigh with resignation when I imagine that our equally lazy and stupid overlords will also decide to hand over this responsibility, maybe in a few years time. And why not? Sure aren't traffic lights all about safety? Not exactly. The Washington Times reports that

…the VTRC study showed that the number of accidents serious enough to cause injuries increased 18 percent at red-light-camera intersections throughout Virginia.

In addition, the private company has been fiddling with the timing of the amber light so that more people will be propelled through intersections on red, thus accruing more citations. This is the kind of urban environment we are emulating.

For a comprehensive dismissal of traffic lights, I highly recommend Martin Cassini's report for the BBC.

To summarise, traffic lights: Are bad for the environment; Usurp crucial decision-making; License aggression; Detain us unnecessarily.

But will anyone in Limerick City Council listen? As far as I can tell, anyone who asks for a new set of traffic signals gets the green light immediately.

::

Endnotes:
  1. Limerick people will be familiar with this phenomenon since a 'midway' set appeared next to the Garda station on Henry Street. And if ever there was a street that already had a excess of lights… [back ↩]