• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

German traffic light stays red for 28 years

Jörg Luyken · 15 Jun 2015, 16:03

Published: 15 Jun 2015 16:03 GMT+02:00

The traffic light stands at the intersection of four different streets just south of the river Elbe. It instructs drivers who want to drive straight ahead to wait. Those who wish to turn right into Güntzustraße can do so at any time as long as they take due caution.

But anyone who waits to cross into Gerokstraße could be waiting a long time - almost three decades if they are patient enough.

That this traffic light has never changed to green is no accident. It has been planned so by the city administration.

And the total cost of maintaining this one traffic light over almost three decades runs to roughly €150,000. Every year maintenance and running costs come to €5,500.

While this may seem nonsensical and a waste of money to your average motorist, the Dresden authorities can explain in exact detail why the light never changes colour.

And their explanation might show another habitat that dies hard - a love of convoluted, self-defeating regulation.

“The administrative regulation as set out in section 37 paragraph 2 of the of the transportation regulations alludes to the need for an exact plan for traffic light signals,” a spokesperson told The Local.

The planning of the junction is based upon directives set out by The Research Institute for Street Transportation.

“Because the green light means ‘transport is free to go’ all the other lights in conflict to this one must show red. That also includes the light on Ziegelstraße.”

“The red light instructs: stop at the intersection. After stopping one is also allowed to turn right if there is a sign to the right of the traffic light that shows a green arrow on a black background.

“Because on Ziegelstraße one is only allowed to turn right, in accordance with regulation 27 section 37 of the transport regulations, we can do without using the traffic signal’s green light.”

All well and good. But why not simply do away with the red light? Would a sign not do?

“As long as Ziegelstraße has access to the junction, we cannot get rid of the traffic lights,” said the spokesperson. “Stop signs do not correspond to traffic light systems and do not  fulfill the same set of regulations.”

So, we are all clearer for that then.

But the truly puzzling thing, reports Berliner Zeitung, is that included in annual maintenance costs are not only replacement red light bulbs, but amber and green ones too.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jörg Luyken (joerg.luyken@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Six burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Photo: DPA.

Uncertainty has kicked in over Brexit and what it may mean for Brits living in Germany.

Merkel demands German vote on EU free trade deal
Photo: DPA

Angela Merkel said the German parliament should be consulted on the EU's free trade deal with Canada, setting her on a collision course with the European Commission.

Red-faced pensioner declares war on pre-recorded sexline
Photo: DPA

An 84-year-old from Bavaria has reported a sex hotline to police after it let down his expectations of late night lust - and then charged him through the nose.

Brexit vote
Brexit 'doesn't pose big risk' to German economy
Car manufacturing at Volkswagen. Photo: DPA

While the financial markets have been thrown into disarray by the Brexit vote, leading experts on the German labour market say the country is easily strong enough to cope.

Berlin colony says no to more 'non-Germans' in its gardens
One of the many small garden colonies in Germany. Photo: DPA.

A public Berlin garden colony has come under fire for denying two Turkish families allotment spaces, saying there are already too many 'non-Germans' using the allotments.

Germany experiences highest birth rate in 15 years
Photos: DPA

Germany is experiencing a mini baby boom - but a veritable "death boom" is more than balancing out the score sheet.

Monsanto still 'open' to deal with German chemical giant
An Indian Monsanto farmer seen at work in 'Sweet Corn' field at Monsanto Bangalore Centre. Photo: EPA.

Monsanto said on Wednesday it was still open to a potential merger with Bayer, or to another big deal, as it reported lower earnings due to a tough agricultural market.

Shock birthday party attack at campsite leaves one dead
A broken fence posts found at the campsite. Photo: DPA.

Violence erupted at a campsite birthday party in Lower Saxony leaving one dead, police reported on Wednesday.

Trabi totalled on Autobahn after skidding on snail slime
Photo: Paderborn police

A vintage East German "Trabi" car has come unstuck after its driver hit a snail trail on the Autobahn.

Munich 'to spend extra €2.2m' on Oktoberfest security
Oktoberfest in Munich, 2014. Photo: DPA.

After terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and most recently Istanbul, Munich could spend nearly €3 million more on security and other measures - but terrorism isn't the only concern: the biggest fear is overcrowding.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
7,943
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd