Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Traffic Lights Down and No Cops Around

All traffic lights were stuck on red at the busy Main and Hastings intersection during rush hour this afternoon. I first got a report at about 3:30 p.m, another report at 4:00 p.m., and another at 4:45 p.m. that the lights were still down. They started functioning again shortly before 5 p.m.

There were no Vancouver Police on the scene the entire time. At around 4 p.m., one police officer drove by in a squad car, turning toward the police station just around the corner on Main. He didn't seem concerned about the mayhem. "Shift change," said a bystander.

Multiple lanes of cars were headed in the direction of pedestrians walking in the crosswalks. One woman with her baby in a stroller was talking to a male friend on her left, not realizing that three cars were coming at her from her right. The drivers did see her and slowed as she suddenly saw them and darted to the safety of the sidwalk.

The drivers were actually quite courteous. The fact that they were crossing against red lights may have made them more willing to yield to pedestrians.
A Downtown Eastside resident sent us the above photo.

Where were the police?


Anonymous said...

There are flashing reds all through downtown. Might be the lightning. The lights become 4 way stops when this happens - it's basic driver ed stuff. It's a little inconvenient, but hardly worthy of cops since the lights are still working.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with the above poster on the lights issue. It's definitely not an uncommon event to see no police officers. Drivers all know how to act in those cases. I do wonder whether the pedestrians know though. Did the mother in the story pay attention to the traffic or was busy talking to her friend to notice the traffic movement. I can speak from experience that I don't recall a time when traffic lights weren't working and the 4-way stops method was observed that pedestrian movement wasn't respected, but then again, the same pedestrians were courteous and respected traffic.

reliable sources said...

To the first anonymous commenter,

You're mistaken about lightening; there was no lightening yesterday when this post was written. (You must be referring to today when there was a storm with lightening.) It was more than "a little inconvenient" yesterday; the lights were not functioning normally for at least an hour and 15 minutes at rush hour. When I came by, crossing the street in the crosswalk felt like jaywalking.

It would have been safer if a cop had been assigned to direct traffic and pedestrians. There have been at least two pedestrians killed at that intersection this year, when the lights were working.

To the second anonymous commenter,

The woman with the baby in the stroller was partly at fault. She had intitially gone into the crosswalk and then scurried back to the sidewalk because too many cars were coming at her. It was during her second attempt to get across the crosswalk that she became preoccupied talking to a man walking with her. She seemed angry at the drivers coming at her. She may not have fully comprehended that the lights weren't functioning normally.