Thirty-four: Belisha beacon

Thirty-four: Belisha beacon, originally uploaded by meganknight.

Belisha beacons are one of those symbols of England you read about, and don’t really understand until you get here, at least I didn’t really understand what they were. What they are are flashing yellow lamps on stripey poles, set up in pairs on either side of a road, and they signal a pedestrian crossing. Pedestrians have absolute right of way at a Belisha beacon – if you’re even standing near one, all traffic grinds to a halt. This is probably a problem for this one, which is on Adelphi road, one of the main roads through campus, and north-south through Preston. It’s in the middle of campus, and positioned in such a way that if you are walking across campus with someone, but heading to different ultimate destinations, this beacon is exactly the place where you would logically stop and finish the conversation before going your separate ways. It’s not just me, everyone does this, and the bit of pavement on either side of the actual pedestrian crossing is usually crowded with people having awkward conversations. This means that the road, which is very narrow at this point as well, has a constant backlog of annoyed, confused and worried drivers not knowing whether they should stop or not. The one major advantage is that if you are approaching the crossing and see your bus looming on the horizon you have a pretty good chance of catching it, since it will very likely be stalled by just such a gathering.

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