A funny thing happened when the the four-way stop on the corner changed to full traffic lights.
Well… not so funny, actually.
Cars go by faster than they used to. Everyone rushes the intersection hoping to get through the green light before it changes.
I guess that’s to be expected, but even when the light is red, cars go by my house – just four from the intersection – much faster, apparently speeding so they can stop suddenly.
They didn’t do that when they had a stop sign to stop at for certain… well, those that bothered to stop, that is. But now they charge to the light, I suppose with hopes it will be green by the time they get there.
When we go for a walk now, instead of taking our chances crossing the street at the intersection, we have a pedestrian signal light, complete with a 15-second countdown and little birdie noises to help vision-impaired pedestrians, to guide us safely to the other side… except now the crossing is riskier than it used to be.
I’ve begun to wonder if Township planners – notoriously pedestrian-unfriendly, after all – purposely gave us the walk signal to lure us into a false sense of security, to make it easier for drivers to scare the Dickens out of us.
I suppose it doesn’t feel like “the city” out here, so drivers pay zero attention to pedestrian signals. To them, green means go… straight through, left, right…and the devil take the hindmost. If you’re stepping into the crosswalk while any driver this side of Aldergrove has a green light – birdies and countdowns be damned – consider yourself the hindmost.
I think the most surprising change that came with the fully lighted intersection was the increase in the amount of trash drivers throw into our front yard now. I have no explanation… no theories. The mind simply boggles.
And cigarette butts. Of the four approaches to the intersection, ours gets by far the greatest burden of the disgusting discards. Why us?
And speaking of oxygen-starved smokers’ brains, here’s a puzzle that would challenge the likes of Einstein and Hawking. Why do we find more butts on the roadside in the summer, especially when fire hazards are greatest, than in the soaking wet here and now?
You know, we really wanted a round-about.