Thursday Tortoise gains speed on Friday

    Parliament Street: Waiting for the green signal. Pic: Donal Foley

    By Jimmy Rhatigan

    OUR STORY on the Parade Traffic Lights last week certainly stirred a bit of interest.

    And, we would have to say, provoked some anger too.

    We had pointed out that the lights were quite slow to change from red to green.

    We did four tests and the times recorded were 2 minutes, 7 seconds, 2 minutes, 35 seconds, 2 minutes and 2 seconds and finally a second 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

    The reaction from some suggested that our timepiece may have been playing tricks on us.

    Nobody claimed that the lights were quicker to change than we pointed out but believed that they were even slower than we experienced.

    Anyway, we took the experiment a stage further during the week when we studied the performance of the lights at the entrance to our Market Yard, the pedestrian crossing at Parliament Street that brings people from the Bank of Ireland side to the old courthouse side and vice versa.

    We had described the Parade lights as lazy and, depending on what day you checked up, the lights in Parliament Street were even lazier.

    For instance, on Thursday, the average time for the red light to green was circa 4 minutes, give or take a few seconds.

    That we labelled a Tortoise-like lights system but decided to check again on Friday.

    A mere 24 hours later and times for the time for the change had almost been halved.

    We did three readings on Friday, one of the busier days in our city, and the readings were 2 minutes and 12 seconds, 2 minutes, 16 seconds and 2 minutes, 12 seconds again.

    Pedestrians seemed to be a lot happier on the second day as the comparatively short wait didn’t seem to bother people.

    Most people that is, as some impatient ones still walked across the street while the lights remained on red.

    What we did discover is that it didn’t seem to make a difference whether or not pedestrians pressed the button to cross as the lights seemed to have a mind of their own and changed colour at what appeared to be quite similar intervals.