The other week, I was making my way home in my car, coming into Doncaster from the A1(M) at Redhouse.
Big deal, where is this going?, is this relevant? I can already hear you cry.
Well, yes. Yes it is.
I’m not quite sure where the idea came from, but I decided to count the sets of traffic lights between departing the motorway and making my way home.
As a hobby, its not the most exciting game you can play and I’d just like to make it clear at this point that traffic light counting isn’t something I do in my spare time.
It was borne out of the fact that Doncaster seems to have far more sets than many other places I’ve driven in. And my theory was proven by the fact that in a few short miles, I counted a whopping 31 sets of traffic lights.
To add to the frustration, many of them were on red.
And many of them brought me to a shuddering standstill in my bid to get home. Fair enough for the major junctions, but being late at night, the roads were quiet and many of the red lights stopped me for no particular reason.
So I’d sit there, darkness falling, carriageways deserted at another red, no cars coming, waiting to move on again. Then I’d travel a few yards down the road and exactly the same thing would happen again.
You know how it is, you trigger one red light, you trigger them all.
By the time I’d made it back, I figured out I’d had to slam on the anchors at more than a third of the lights – and at least six or seven of them were what I would deem unnecessary stops.
Now, I’m sure there’s some road safety expert out there ready to point out that every light serves a purpose and is keeping me safe. Even in the dead of night when its 1am and I’m the only soul on the road, gently revving half way down York Road waiting for a green.
I’ve written before how the vast number of roundabouts in Doncaster seem to hinder rather than help transport – and not to mention the fact that the authority always seems prepared to do all of its roadworks at exactly the same time.
Anyone who has ever driven in Doncaster over the years will know that a minor accident halfway along Balby Road has the ability to have a knock on effect of gridlocking the whole town.
And that’s not to mention the roadworks currently helping to bring both Bawtry Road and Thorne Road to a go-slow.
I’d love to know why the town seems so blighted by traffic lights and why so many of them seem to automatically trigger to red in sequence so you get stopped at them all.
Does Doncaster really want the title of traffic light capital of the UK?
Answers on a postcard please.