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BS: traffic lights

Davetnova 07 Mar 05 - 06:31 AM
Crystal 07 Mar 05 - 07:10 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Mar 05 - 07:24 AM
kendall 07 Mar 05 - 07:59 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 07 Mar 05 - 08:53 AM
kendall 07 Mar 05 - 09:40 AM
gnu 07 Mar 05 - 09:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Mar 05 - 10:01 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Mar 05 - 10:01 AM
gnu 07 Mar 05 - 10:02 AM
Amos 07 Mar 05 - 10:28 AM
MudGuard 07 Mar 05 - 10:29 AM
Wolfgang 07 Mar 05 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Mingulay at work 07 Mar 05 - 11:26 AM
John MacKenzie 07 Mar 05 - 12:12 PM
Liz the Squeak 07 Mar 05 - 02:02 PM
beadie 07 Mar 05 - 02:19 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Mar 05 - 02:22 PM
gnu 07 Mar 05 - 03:04 PM
Liz the Squeak 07 Mar 05 - 03:31 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Mar 05 - 03:34 PM
gnu 07 Mar 05 - 04:04 PM
Georgiansilver 07 Mar 05 - 04:15 PM
SharonA 07 Mar 05 - 04:30 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Mar 05 - 04:37 PM
open mike 07 Mar 05 - 04:45 PM
gnu 07 Mar 05 - 05:02 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM
jacqui.c 07 Mar 05 - 05:18 PM
gnu 07 Mar 05 - 05:32 PM
Bunnahabhain 07 Mar 05 - 07:24 PM
Layah 07 Mar 05 - 07:32 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 07 Mar 05 - 07:50 PM
Layah 07 Mar 05 - 08:01 PM
Shanghaiceltic 07 Mar 05 - 11:32 PM
jacqui.c 07 Mar 05 - 11:37 PM
C-flat 08 Mar 05 - 02:27 AM
Liz the Squeak 08 Mar 05 - 04:20 AM
JennyO 08 Mar 05 - 09:14 AM
Bunnahabhain 08 Mar 05 - 12:49 PM
Liz the Squeak 08 Mar 05 - 05:58 PM
Bill D 08 Mar 05 - 06:47 PM
JennyO 09 Mar 05 - 08:27 AM
Piers 09 Mar 05 - 08:46 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 05 - 08:30 PM
Gurney 10 Mar 05 - 04:42 AM
Piers 10 Mar 05 - 06:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 11 Mar 05 - 05:18 AM
Piers 11 Mar 05 - 08:11 AM

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Subject: BS: traffic lights
From: Davetnova
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 06:31 AM

During the recent floods the traffic lights in Carlisle were out of action. Some bright spark noticed that the traffic flow was actually better! So today they have turned all their traffic lights off, I believe for a period of months, to see how things go. Initial reports say that traffic is flowing well.
Any bets this won't spread to other sensible cities.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Crystal
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:10 AM

Hmmm.
In Chelmsford one of the town councillers got held up by the lights for 5 mins at the Army and Navy roundabout (which is on the main route into the towm/ station/ bus station/ Main Royal mail sorting office for east anglia/ two large industrial estates etc) and so had them turned off. Now 5 mile tailbacks are common and it can take up to an hour to get across it at rush hour!
I guess it depends on the situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:24 AM

We've a set of lights near us, which, due to building works have not been in use. The traffic has flowed well there, the tailbacks from the A13 down to the Fire Station (quite dangerous should there be a shout at rush hour) have been non existant and there don't appear to have been many if any accidents.

These lights have had a sign on them since the beginning of Jan, giving a date (17th Jan) when they will be in use. They were switched on for one day and the traffic snarled up within 30 mins. Ever since then, the date for 'in use from' has changed reguarly, as they change their minds over what to do with them! The latest date was 3rd March, but they were still out of action on the 6th!

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:59 AM

We have traffic lights every few yards which add to congestion and excess fuel consumption. I hate them, but roundabouts make more sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 08:53 AM

If you want to see why traffic lights are necessary, wait until hurricane season in the US and come visit whatever city gets smacked hard this year. Trying to get through intersections of major multi-lane streets with no working traffic lights is no fun at all. In fact, in the aftermath of our recent experience with Hurricane Ivan, several local people were killed by drivers who decided to ignore the "treat an intersection with non-working lights as an all-way stop" rule.

On the other hand, roundabouts are mercifully rare here in the States, but judging from my limited experience with them, I can see how traffic signals could just exacerbate problems associated with them. Weren't roundabouts developed as a means of easing traffic-flow in pre-traffic-signal days? Installing traffic lights at some roundabouts would amount to an unnecessary level of traffic regulation when just using the roundabout as originally designed would work just fine.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 09:40 AM

Living in a city is an unnatural act.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 09:48 AM

North American roundabout question (ie, vehicles are driven on righthand side of roadway). North, South, East and West (N,S,E and W) Streets (S's) meet at a roundabout (RA).

Let's start numbering these in case there are more.

1) Vehicle S1 (VS1) arrives at the RA from SS and enters the RA. VN1 arrives at the RA from NS as VS1 approaches NS. Who has the right of way?


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 10:01 AM

The vehicle on the roundabout ALWAYS has right of way so unless VS1 intends turning off the NS road VN1 has to wait until VS1 passes. Or am I missing something cleverly American..? (Like there are no roundabouts in North America? :-) )

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 10:01 AM

I don't know whether it's a general rule, but in Boston when I was there many years ago it was supposed that the car in the circle has right-of-way over a car entering the circle. It was only of academic interest, as driving in Boston was largely a matter of "who bluffs best." Any attempt to observe a "requirement" to yield to anyone would generally leave one immobile - sometimes for several days. Right of way was determined solely by the rule that he who first admits he saw the other vehicle must yield.

In the US, or other places where one drives on the right side of the road, you make a right turn going in or going out of the circle, so there's never a need to cross a lane of "competing traffic." I should suppose that where you drive on the left your turns would be to the left for the same reason?

John


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 10:02 AM

I gotto go run some errands so see you in a while. I hope some more comments and, perhaps, scenarios like mine are posted and discussed as we are in a debate over RA's here in Moncton.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Amos
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 10:28 AM

In Mexico the gloriettas are often spinning pits of glorious cacophony and chaos, but they work fairly well if you don't succumb to a heart attack half way through.

The streets leading into them occasionally also have stop signs pr traffic lights. But I haven't stayed in one place where this was the case long enough to notice whether it aided or impeded the flow.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: MudGuard
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 10:29 AM

gnu, which vehicle has the right of way in the United States depends on the size of the guns the drivers carry ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:18 AM

I agree that in many cases having less traffic lights is better. We tend to get more roundabouts than we had before and that is definitely an improvement. But the main variable whether they help or not is the amount of traffic as Brucie's example shows.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: GUEST,Mingulay at work
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:26 AM

The major problem with roundabouts where I live is that the local Council will insist on placing pedestrian crossings on the roads leading to them right on the junction. One old lady wanting to cross can cause major havoc.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 12:12 PM

How else do they cross the road?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 02:02 PM

That is the only advantage that I can see with light controlled junctions... it gives the pedestrian a chance to cross - assuming you can sprint across 3-4 lanes of traffic in 7 seconds.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: beadie
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 02:19 PM

In Wisconsin, where I live, several communities have installed roundabouts and several more are considering this move. Of those that have made the change, I would say that the "rules of the road," that is, "the vehicle in the RA has the right of way," are generally observed.

What is most interesting, is that the loudest opposition and most outlandish objections to the device seem to come from the most xenophobic residents and have little to do with any traffic flow or safety reasons for installing a RA. Anything that even sounds European (other than the part of Europe where the majority ethnic portion of the local population originated) is anathema to these folks and raises heated debate even if such useless things as facts and statistics prove their worth.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 02:22 PM

*Singing*

"I like traffic lights...."


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 03:04 PM

Not missing a thing Dave. You are entirely correct. Now, we need you to come to Moncton as a driving instructor. You would not believe how many people will argue the "the vehicle on the right" always has the right of way, unless signage indicates otherwise, ie, stop or yield.

Now, as far as indicating your intention by use of signal lights, in Moncton, only my truck and my mother's car are equipped with operational signal lights. In thirty years of navigating our two multi-lane traffic circles, I have only once seen another vehicle signal an exit properly. That vehicle had international plates.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 03:31 PM

Oh the amount of times I've yelled at cars turning into junctions I'm trying to cross, without indicating... I usually ask them what the little orange lights on the side of the car are for.. they look blank, which just about explains it!

Oh, and entering a crossing or a junction when the exit is not clear... drives me mental!

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 03:34 PM

"I like traffic lights..."


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:04 PM

I like high speed/resolution cameras, with proper advanced warning signs of course, and traffic violation fines issued against the license plate of offending "vehicles", along with points deducted from the vehicle owner regardless of who the owner says was driving when the offense took place. I know the carnage that can take place even in low speed collisions and it's due time the rude and ignorant drivers are brought up to speed on same. Money talks. And "no points" walks.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:15 PM

The fact that Carlisle had such serious floods made a change in the minds of the people!.....everyone tried to meet the challenge and were prepareed to "give way" to whatever happened. Will it last?
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: SharonA
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:30 PM

Gnu: In Philadelphia, PA, U.S., they've just installed some of these cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard to catch people who drive through red lights. Thus far they've photographed about 9 an hour, but the authorities aren't issuing fines yet. When they do, their hope is that violations will be reduced; I suspect that they will simply generate violations of the non-payment-of-fines sort.

About traffic "roundabouts" ("circles" in the Philly area, a.k.a. "rotaries" in parts of New England, U.S.): In southern New Jersey, they have REMOVED several circles to improve traffic flow on state highways in the more metropolitan areas (such as Route 73 in Marlton). Also, left turns are prohibited on a lot of crossroads there, and one must make an exit to the right onto a "jughandle" that loops around and allows one to merge onto the cross-street (NJ's alternative to widening the roads to allow for a left-turn lane).


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:37 PM

"I like traffic lights...

But only when they're green...."

(Am I the only one who knows this song?)


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: open mike
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:45 PM

so what did people do when the lights went out?
everyone stopped as if it had a 4 way stop sign?
sometimes here whne a traffic light (or stop sign)
gets installed at an intersection it is often as a
result of a fatal crash there...


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 05:02 PM

CH... not likely. But I don't.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM

It might be on the Monty Python album 'The Final Ripoff'

Or "Monty Python Sings"

look it up...

Heh


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: jacqui.c
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 05:18 PM

Thread creep there.

From experience on both sides of the pond I reckon that, in the main, roundabouts keep traffic moving more smoothly than traffic lights. I know how frustrating it can be to sit at an empty junction, not being able to move because the lights are against you. With a roundabout that situation won't arise.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 05:32 PM

Wha!!!??? "I know how frustrating it can be to sit at an empty junction, not being able to move because the lights are against you."

I have actually, at about zero five hundred dark hours, been stopped by the Queens Cowboys for running a red light, after stopping first, at an empty junction. I have also been let go after explaining that the traffic control lights are for controlling traffic. If there is no traffic, I can override the lights. A red light at an empty junction equals a stop sign.

I do this all the time. If I am stopped at a red light awaiting a straight green and the opposing advanced left traffic signal is still in progress while no oncoming left turn traffic exists, I blow on through my red light. Of course, I am constantly aware of "suspicious vehicles" in my immediate vicinity.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:24 PM

Here, the since the police get to keep traffic fines, they stick cameras on the lights, and just love people like you.You can be easily identified, and you'll just pay up. Just because what you're doing is safe and sensible, they still fine you. Get caught 4 times, and you're off the road....

The rules are set for the morons who shouldn't be on the roads at all, not for competant drivers, who are aware there is other traffic on the road. Cyclists make better drivers, as we have to be careful of everything, from the road surface and the wind, as well as the actual traffic. And without airbags, etc, you're careful or dead. Or deseve to be.

Less traffic regulation! Make it sensible, and people might stick to it.
Speeding past a school at 3.30 AM is dangerous for kids. 3.30 AM, why should we care?


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Layah
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:32 PM

A lot of places I've been school speed limits say "when school is in session" and expect you to be able to figure out when that is. You can call it a safe bet taht school isn't in session at 3:30 AM

I do disagree about running red lights at empty intersections, unless the visibilty is very good, which it normally isn't in the middle of the night. Assume that somebody is speeding, and they are heading towards a green light, can you see them far enough up the road that you are sure there is no one there? Yes, sometimes you can see far enough. Often on a dark road in the night you can't.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:50 PM

Around here, the traffic signals go to flashing red/yellow at about 10:00 pm except for major intersections and where visibility is a problem. The major road gets flashing yellow, the secondary road gets flashing red. A few intersections may get flashing red both ways which just makes them four-way stops. The signals revert to their normal mode at about 6:00 AM.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Layah
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 08:01 PM

that makes a lot more sense. Then you have people being cautious at the intersections and you don't end up waiting at an empty intersection at a red light. I like that solution.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:32 PM

In China there are many many traffic lights but they don't help as most drivers routinely ignore them, cutting across on a red or just blocking the junction even though yellow boxes are painted on the roads. But if they did not have them then the chaos would be even worse as it would be dog eat dog.

There is a color blindness test as part of the driving exam here. Tell the difference between red and green, green and orange and orange and green and oddly between yellow and orange. I nearly failed the test on not being able to see a clear difference between yellow and orange. I did point out that most Chinese drivers suffer from red/green colour blindness. I got a long hard stare from the examiner.

They have tried roundabouts but as with T junctions trying to get Chinese drivers to obey the traffic regulations and consider rights of way is like peeing into the wind. No one but no one gives way.

Here intersections are an area where caution is thrown to the wind. If you see an opening you take it and bugger the rest. Visitors to China often wonder why people never use the pedestrian crossings. Thats easy, cos no one stops for pedestrians on a crossing so you might as well just cross anywhere you like.

If this has given anyone the impression that driving in China is not for the faint hearted then you are right. It is not. I have been driving here now for 3 years and I take a change of underwear on each journey ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: jacqui.c
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 11:37 PM

Sounds just like parts of London then!


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: C-flat
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 02:27 AM

There are studies underway that are looking into the viability of removing all street signs, road markings, traffic lights and pavements.
Some believe these "naked roads" will force drivers to be more aware by removing the false sense of safety that road markings give.

C-flat.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 04:20 AM

"Cyclists make better drivers, as we have to be careful of everything, from the road surface and the wind, as well as the actual traffic."

Whilst I have always held that all learner drivers should spend 2-4 weeks on the road on a cycle and a motorbike before they get in a car, your statement has some obvious flaws.

I'm regularly abused, almost been hit more times than I can count, I've been clipped by elbows and panniers, and I've been hit head on by cyclists. What was I doing?

Walking down the pavement, using a pedestrian crossing, waiting at a bus stop, all perfectly legally.

Cyclists may make better and more considerate drivers, but they have a lot to learn about consideration for pedestrians!

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: JennyO
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:14 AM

I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights,
But not when they are red.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 12:49 PM

Liz, those are thugs with bikes.

The kind who wobble down the middle of the road after dark with no lights on, wearing dark clothes and no helmet, with a walkman on. They wonder why the drivers curse them, and so ride on the pavements.

I don't like them either, but blame the cyclists you see on pavements, not all of us.

Bunnahabhain


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 05:58 PM

No, I'm talking about the cyclists in proper gear, fluorescent clothing, helmets, lights, everything, who blast through red traffic lights, as if the rules of the road don't apply to them. They're the ones who squeeze through gaps in traffic when it's stopped to push their front wheels across the crossing so that pedestrians trip over them; the ones that cut out red lights by mounting the pavement and using the pedestrian crossing just to get those few extra seconds off the clock.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 06:47 PM

I am ROYALLY tired of cyclists who don't believe the road rules apply to them...ignoring lights, signs, slipping between cars and riding in the middle of the road even when special bike paths are provided. It is rare to see a serious rider here (Wash DC and environs) who follows the rules.

As to lights...it is legal to turn right on a red light after stopping, except where otherwise marked (like on hills and certain high-traffic spots)...and this usually allows a lot of extra progress. But it is getting to be more & more popular to barely slow at red lights and stop signs if there doesn't 'seem' to be any traffic coming. THIS IS A BAD HABIT!!!! It leads to guessing and assuming and careless hurrying.

We in the Wash DC area have a LOT of RAs/traffic circles and some of them are pretty scary in heavy traffic. People take chances and get belligerent when they are in a hurry, and amazing idiocy happens! A few of these circles/RAs need lights within them to deal with complex, multiple entrances, but most rely on the rule noted above. It can be interesting when they are 3 or 4 lanes wide!


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: JennyO
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:27 AM

It can get very interesting working out who is at fault in the event of an accident on those multiple lane roundabouts too.

I was involved in an accident on a double lane roundabout a few years ago, where the driver changed lanes on the roundabout and hit the side of my car. The NRMA (motorists organisation here in Oz) legal department got very interested and fought the case on my behalf. They thought of it as a test case. There were several factors involved, and the fact that the other driver kept changing his story about where he was headed didn't help his case any. In the end, he was found to be at fault even though he entered the roundabout before I did, and he had to pay my damage and expenses.

Soon after that, I noticed that this particular intersection was listed as one of Sydney's top ten accident black spots, and not much later, the whole thing was done away with, and a flyover was built instead. Of course, the fact that it was the main road and turnoff leading to the site of the Sydney Olympic Games, and this was in the period leading up to the games, would have had nothing at all to do with their quick action ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Piers
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:46 AM

NO, NO, NO - they have turned off the traffic lights on ONE roundabout only. Opinion is mixed on whether the traffic is actually better, some say it is worse at rush hour.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:30 PM

I'm with Liz. In London you will typically see one cyclist in three committing an offence.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 04:42 AM

Piers, what kind of road island has traffic lights? Is this some sneaky way of getting more of those damn light-controlled intersections into use to plague us?
Seriously though, a well designed roundabout/road-island is the most efficient way I've see of moving light to medium traffic through an intersection. They do have failings, in heavy traffic fortune only favours the brave, and as Liz points out, they are impossible to cross. However, in heavy traffic nothing much moves at traffic lights because the whole lot is blocked up with cars stopped by the NEXT traffic lights. And bloody pedestrians crossing. (Hey, they were born on that side of town.....)

I don't like the little roundabouts they have here in Auckland. You can go through them at 50kph, so people DO enter them at 50kph. Or 60kph. Looking right. With the next entry 5 metres ahead.
THATS the way to design a roundabout to give roundabouts a bad name!


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Piers
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 06:02 AM

The roundabout(road island) is called Hardwicke Circus, here's a map:
http://www.dfsonline.co.uk/images/maps/67.gif

Each of the five entrances to the roundabout (three of which are dual carriageways) are (were) controlled by traffic lights which let traffic on to the roundabout sequentially.

Here's some pictures of the circus from January:
floods_1_jan2005_gallery.shtml?29
floods_1_jan2005_gallery.shtml?32
floods_1_jan2005_gallery.shtml?46
floods_1_jan2005_gallery.shtml?47
floods_1_jan2005_gallery.shtml?55

Not quite so wet:
assets/images/sal01.gif

What the locals think:
forum/messages/283/418.html?1110276466
viewmessages.asp?topicid=3312&forumid=19

In the news:
BBC
cumbria-online.co.uk
cumberland-news.co.uk
cumberland-news.co.uk
thescotsman

I went over the roundabout twice when the lights off in January, it really seemed to flow more smoothly. I shall be going round tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 05:18 AM

You want traffic lights? Try These for a laugh....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: traffic lights
From: Piers
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 08:11 AM

Hi Liz, yes I have driven over that one in Swindon, there is also a similar 'magic roundabout' in Hemel Hempstead.

I have been over the roundabout now without lights this morning, it was a lot smoother (but not the busy time). I did have to wait a while to get out of one the smaller side roads onto the roundabout, probably no longer than one would have to wait for the lights, but I imagine at busy time getting out against the mass flow of traffic isn't easy.

I think popular opinion is forming to suggest that the lights should go on at rush hour only.


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