Things I have learned ( I )

April 27, 2010

How much time does it take to cross a street?

It takes surprisingly long, actually it is even a little disconcerting if you think about how much time you spend on crossing streets and waiting for green light. Every day.

I mean you probably guessed that before.

But Taipei – always concerned about its citizens – provides the service to inform you – exact to the second – how much time you are precisely wasting while waiting and crossing.

For those who are missing out on this enlightening piece of precious information, I am going to share it with you.

Following indications are benchmarks only. Variables such as leg length, flat foot, splay foot, injured foot, cakewalk, silly walk or double quick cannot be taken into consideration.

1 lane: 13 seconds

2 lanes and right-turning motorists, 23 motorcyclists: 35 seconds

4 lanes and right-turning motorists,  79 motorcyclists and traffic island: 61 seconds

6 lanes and above: 4 minutes up to half an hour.

(The law of the Taipei street is men vs. machine. In this case right-turning vehicles vs. traversing pedestrians. Generally speaking the bigger the street crossing mob the better the chances to win that fierce battle and to reach the other side in time.)

Of course usually you don’t only have to calculate how  long it takes to cross the street but in fact how many seconds you will need to get to the street from where you actually are in the first place (which is most often around 40m before the auspicious traffic light) PLUS to cross it and get to the other side in one piece.

Oh blissful unawareness on German streets!

Where red light is merely the mild warning that anytime soon (but not too soon) safe crossing can’t be guaranteed (and is of course very illegal). No countdown will make you bite your nails – it’s green until it’s red. And German red is not as red as Taipei red. And mob or mouse – green illuminated pedestrians have always right of way. And you can choose to live in sweet denial until your very last day and tell yourself it only takes you 5 minutes to uni because there are no walking, talking traffic lights that confront you with the unwelcome truth.

Taipei traffic light


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