Town Centre Regulars

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These are some images of some of the most common sights in British towns and urban areas, taken one miserable and wet September day. If you live here you'll have seen all these a million times; if not, then this is what you would see a million times if you moved to Britain.

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A rather standard crossroads, controlled by traffic lights and with push-putton pedestrian crossings across each of the four roads (known as Pelican crossings in Britain). Note there are three traffic lights sited here; there is another facing this road at the far right hand side of the junction — this is a typical set-up.

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A closer shot of a traffic light. These have been built (since 1963, or thereabouts) to one exact design and specification — identical lenses, cases, the lot. All have a black backing board with thick white border to make them stand out — except in central London, where there is no backing board, for no apparent reason.

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A classic Zebra crossing — known as such because of the black and white stripes. Unlike other European countries, Britain does not use these across junctions as stop lines, though the same right-of-way to pedestrians rule applies there. This type of crossing is always protected and marked by Belisha Beacons, the black-and-white poles with flashing amber lights on top.

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Slow indeed. The notorious and rapidly appearing 'traffic calming measures' implemented nationwide by local authorities. Arguments are still raging over whether they actually improve safety, and indeed if they are legal. While the issue remains unresolved, they're still multiplying like rabbits.

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Britain's finest parking control device, the stunningly simple idea of yellow lines. Double yellow lines, like these, at the side of the road mean no parking, while one yellow line means there are special parking restrictions posted on signs.

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A brand new Puffin Crossing. Since the beginning of time, traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossings in Britain were called Pelican Crossings. This is a new breed, called a Puffin, which has lights mounted on the same side as the pedestrian stands, to discourage people from standing dangerously close to the kerb. There are two mountings on the post; the top box is the pedestrian lights and the bottom is the push-button control.

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A textbook case junction. This is the advance warning sign, followed by a change in speed limit, then a red triangular "Give Way" sign, then at the far side of the major road a direction sign with pointed ends for each direction (very hard to see here). Now I look at this, I could definitely have done with some more photos.