Eins, Zwei, Polizei (Kastanienallee)

Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg district on November 25th, 2010: »Today around 4am several citizens called the police independently of each other and complained that the traffic light on Kastanienallee/Schönhauser Allee was speaking loudly to passerbys.«

We were more than surprised as the police report was sent to us yesterday. Talking traffic lights – what a great communication concept! Why didn’t we think of it sooner? Nowhere does one pass so much unused waiting time than at Berlin traffic lights. »Through the loudspeaker citizens were informed about health issues (AIDS prevention)« is how it was described in the report. What could be better?

But apparently there was an irritating moment: »As the police arrived the collegues on the other side of Kastanienallee 3 noticed on lighting pole No. 4, that 3 meters up an electric plug had been set up.« Oops. Stealing electricity or what? For informing about health topics? But that wasn’t all: on a sign slightly below at around 2.5 meters were the words »dear virus, you gave me diahrrea, I eat to counter the diahrrea …«.

Ouch – something’s fishy. The traffic light can speak to passing persons about health issues for a long time. But as soon as messages like the one mentioned above are posted, the informative experience is ruined. Consequently: »At 5:10am the loudspeaker was taken down by representatives of the company Alliander Stadtlicht GmbH and secured by police officers according to clause 15.« And if anyone should encounter another speaking stoplight don’t hesitate to contact the police! Oh the irony …

Meanwhile the confiscated loudspeaker device was turned over to us after several apologies. Of course we will be able to re-install it at the same place. After all, it is officially approved and certified, and it was never about a noise disturbance complaint. Quite possibly some administrative offices are in need of a well-engineered communications concept. We’ve got an idea …

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