One thing that really really annoys me about how Auckland treats its pedestrians relates to what happens at signalised intersections. We all know the situation:
- We turn up at an intersection, knowing that we will get the green man at the same time as the traffic travelling in the same direction as us gets a green light.
- Ah damn, the green phase for the direction we want to travel started about two seconds before we hit the “beg button”. When we push the button all we get is a solid red man.
- We need to wait ages for the traffic light in the direction we’re travelling to turn orange, then red, and then we need to wait for all the other phases to go through before we finally get the green man.
- Ah stuff it, just run across the road on the red man anyway.
I think I probably cross roads on a red man just about every single day (generally many more times than once) because of this issue.
Now at the very occasional intersection if the green phase has already started for vehicles and you push the button, you get the green man straight away. This shows that it is possible – just clearly our traffic engineers hate pedestrians enough to not bother doing this any more than extremely occasionally.
Solving the horrific way Auckland treats its pedestrians doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to take a long time to roll out. It just requires those in positions to influence things like traffic signals to actually care about more than just shifting vehicles. Why is it so hard to get things like this to happen?
I think I might make this a regular “column” in this blog – just little ideas around how we can improve life for the poor neglected pedestrian. Maye that will make Auckland Transport notice.