Crossing the road in London has always been a hazardous undertaking, but some recent research suggests that getting from one pavement to another can be deadly even if you use a pedestrian crossing.
The survey showed that 347 pedestrian crossings under the control of Transport for London (TfL) – chairman, Boris Johnson – have no facilities to assist blind and partially sighted people to cross the road safely.
In addition, 113 pedestrian crossings also fail national safety standards by not providing the minimum amount of time for pedestrians to cross safely.
Of the latter cases two potential accident black spots are in south Croydon: at the busy junction between Bartlett Street and Nottingham Road; and at Warham Road and Selsdon Road.
Seven Croydon crossings also fail the agreed minimum requirements for the visually impaired. As the list shows, some of these are on extremely busy stretches of major roads. These are:
- Brighton Road at Old Lodge Lane fire station
- On the Purley Way at Epsom Road
- Brighton Road at Bartlett Street and Nottingham Road
- St James Road and Sydenham Road
- Whitehorse Road by St James Road and Spurgeons Bridge
- Purley Way at Foxley Lane and Pampisford Road
- Purley Way at Edgehill Road and Highfield Road
This is despite there being long-standing national accessibility standards to ensure every pedestrian crossing has either an audible sound or a rotating cone to assist blind and partially sighted people.
The research was carried out for Caroline Pidgeon, the LibDem leader on the London Assembly. She called TfL’s failure to upgrade these crossings as “a total disgrace”.
“It is a total disgrace that London has so many pedestrian crossings which are inaccessible for blind and partially sighted people or fail to give enough time for pedestrians to safely cross the road.
“It says everything about the low priority given to pedestrians by the Mayor of London that such basic safety standards are still not being met at so many pedestrian crossings across the capital.
“The Mayor has had plenty of time to make sure every TfL pedestrian crossing in London is safe and accessible, but he has completely failed to do so.
“This weekend is called Very Important Pedestrian Weekend as Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street are closed to traffic. The reality is that for the rest of the year, across the whole of London, pedestrians are too often ignored.”
TfL’s pretty lame response to the survey was to state that the crossings met standards that were in place at the time they were installed, and that a review will be conducted in 2012.
TfL is operating to guidance for crossing features for the visually impaired that was published by the Ministry for Transport as long ago as 1995 (click here for the document). The guidance for crossing times has been in place since 2005.
And it appears that TfL has failed to hit a deadline, set in October 2010 by the London Assembly’s transport committee, to make London a safer and better place for pedestrians to walk:
Recommendation 4: “That by December 2011, Transport for London takes steps to ensure all pedestrian crossings in London are:
Up to minimum DfT standards for pedestrian crossings time; and
Include audible signals and tactile cones”
- Boris on the wrong track with his PR fund for Croydon (insidecroydon.com)
- News from John Biggs: Outrage As Blackfriars Pedestrian Crossing Removed (london.gov.uk)
- Croydon’s Urban Motorways (croydoncyclist.wordpress.com)