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Traffic Light Tree | Hidden Gem in London

Updated: Mar 6

The Traffic Light Tree is a teen driver's worst nightmare. Just outside the main gate to Bilingsgate Market, there is a traffic island where you can find this traffic light mutation.

Image of Traffic Light Tree in London

The eight-meter-tall stoplight, which was created in 1998 by French sculptor Pierre Vivant, was first put in place where a plane tree had once stood but had since perished due to air pollution.

Its morphing patterns are meant to capture the "never-ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial, and commercial activities. The original plan was to have the London Stock Exchange's activity start the lights, but it was abandoned because it would have been too expensive to implement.

Nice modern and unexpected touch to the Canary Wharf entrance, (almost camouflages itself in the summer too) just would love to have it located at a more walking friendly location though. – Google Review

The tall "Traffic Light Tree" switches its 75 sets of lights in a random order, much to the bewilderment of unprepared motorists. The roundabout containing the "Tree" was in fact ranked highly when Saga Motor Insurance polled British drivers in 2005 about the best and worst roundabouts in the nation.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Traffic Light Tree

1) Where is the Traffic Light Tree located?

The Traffic Light Tree is located on a roundabout near Billingsgate Market, at the junction of Hermitage Wall and Limehouse Link in London, England.

2) What makes the Traffic Light Tree a hidden gem?

The Traffic Light Tree is considered a hidden gem due to its unconventional and eye-catching design, resembling a sculpture rather than a traditional traffic signal. Its unexpected location and artistic appeal make it a unique attraction in the city.

3) How do I get to the Traffic Light Tree?

Visitors can access the Traffic Light Tree by walking or taking public transportation to the roundabout near Billingsgate Market. The nearest tube stations are Tower Hill and Shadwell, both of which are within walking distance.

4) Is there an entrance fee to see the Traffic Light Tree?

No, there is no entrance fee to see the Traffic Light Tree as it is located in a public area and can be viewed from the sidewalk or roadside.

5) What can I expect to see at the Traffic Light Tree?

The Traffic Light Tree is an art installation comprising multiple sets of traffic lights arranged in a tree-like structure. The lights change color in sequence, mimicking the changing patterns of a traffic signal.

6) Who created the Traffic Light Tree?

The Traffic Light Tree was created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant in 1998 as part of a public art initiative to bring attention to the urban environment and the relationship between nature and technology.

7) Is the Traffic Light Tree functional?

Yes, the Traffic Light Tree functions as a regular traffic signal, controlling the flow of vehicles at the roundabout where it is situated.

8) Can I take photographs with the Traffic Light Tree?

Yes, visitors are welcome to take photographs of the Traffic Light Tree. It is a popular spot for photography due to its unique appearance and artistic design.

9) Is there parking available near the Traffic Light Tree?

There may be limited parking available near the Traffic Light Tree, but it is advisable to use public transportation or walk to the site due to the busy nature of the area.

10) What is the best time to visit the Traffic Light Tree?

The Traffic Light Tree can be visited at any time of day, but it may be particularly striking at night when the lights are illuminated against the backdrop of the city skyline. However, visitors should exercise caution when crossing the road or taking photographs near the roundabout.

Image of Traffic Light Tree in London
Photo taken by @3190m via Instagram.

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