Why traffic chaos in Belfast is driving me mad
One of the bizarre aspects of the Belfast city centre traffic system is that while the wardens will swoop if you so much as hover for an instant outside the defining lines of designated parking areas, there are some random spots which seem to be exempt entirely from red coat surveillance.
Outside the Victoria Centre is now such a popular dropping off/picking up point that the inside lane heading into town is almost permanently clogged.
I understand why people would choose to stop there (hands up, I've done it myself) but it doesn't exactly enhance the flow of traffic past the area.
Meanwhile, and much worse, is the dropping off/picking up point that's been established outside a supermarket just at the lights in High Street.
Again, I get why shop customers with a heavy load of groceries wouldn't want - or even be able - to walk a long distance with them. But surely something could be sorted to help the flow of traffic and, more importantly, ensure the safety of all road users in the area.
There are a few parking bays immediately outside the shop. Plainly not enough.
Maybe they could create a few extra around the corner from the lights where it would be safer for all concerned?
And while I'm on a rant about city centre traffic hurdles, why is it that so many drivers these days feel it's perfectly safe to stop, throw open their doors without looking and step straight out into passing traffic? Other drivers are forced to swerve to avoid cleaning the door off its hinges and the driver off his or her feet.
It's madness, but like the unofficial on-street parking bays, a regular and seemingly unremarked feature of the free-for-all that is now the Belfast city centre driving experience.