Today somebody finally woke up and realised that the amount of time that pedestrians get to cross the road at a crossing is ludicrously short. They concentrate on the problem that the elderly have in crossing a road in the short time that the little man shows green.
But they are not the only ones who can have trouble. And it is not just about the trouble in crossing in time.
Why should pedestrians huddle at the edge of the road waiting until they get the chance to rush across the road tugging at their forelocks ? Car drivers may protest that giving pedestrians more priority will slow them down, but come on – it isn’t as if you don’t get there quicker than pedestrians anyway. What is a few extra minutes ?
Car drivers might argue that because they pay so much in motoring taxes that they deserve extra priority on the roads. Well, it’s an interesting argument, but is really totally irrelevant. Taxes of any kind are raised in all sorts of different ways and put into a common pool from which government spending is taken – both central government and local government. And the government decides how much will be spent on roads in competition with all the other demands on government funds.
And roads are not the only costs that motoring causes – there is also dealing with the health issues related to motoring such as accidents and respiratory issues.
Besides which, the way that local roads are funded – and all pedestrian crossings are on local roads – means that a relatively small proportion of the costs is made up of motoring taxes. No council funds come directly from motoring taxes, but from council taxes instead. Which means that pedestrian waiting to cross the road may actually be paying more towards the roads than you think.
Besides which it is not simply about the money, but about simple fairness and safety. In terms of safety, the lights need to be green not just long enough to allow slower pedestrians to cross the road, but also to allow pedestrians who are reasonably close to the crossing to cross the road. And even long enough at cross-roads to allow pedestrians to cross both roads – to do the equivalent of a left or right turn.