Pedestrian Crossing - Abbey Street / Tower Bridge Road

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Jerry Wednesday 21 December 2011 10.50am
Wouldn't it be great if you could trust the traffic planners to put into place some coordinated scheme. The lights at Grange Road and Abbey street would have to be timed to perfection to make this work, the yellow box junctions would need enforcement and the pedestrians will need to still look out for illegal drivers and cyclists jumping the lights. Unfortunately if you look at Long Lane / Dover Street / Borough High Street as an example of the planners skills, God help us all.

The traffic lights failed the other day at a large normally jammed junction, I forget where, I was amazed at how well it worked when everyone had to fend for themselves!
Rambling Phil Wednesday 21 December 2011 11.10am
i also would imagine road traffic flow has to be the priority for a road ...surely?

No, I don't agree. Road traffic in an urban space is an annoyance and danger to everyone, and the faster it gets, the more accident danger it poses.

Traffic flow in a dense road network (such as in London) is self regulating, anyway. If you make a car journey easier (eg by improving flow), more people will choose to use it over alternative routes or modes and, eventually, it will be just as bad.

If, conversely, you make it harder (eg by taking road space or time and giving it over to more social uses), people will choose not to make the journey in their cars, or will choose other routes.

Therefore, given a choice, urban public policy should prioritise pedestrians.

pedestrians can every bit as irresponsible as many drivers

When a pedestrian walks unwisely, they are a danger to themselves. When a car driver does so, they are a threat to others. I can't see how it's possible for a pedestrian to be as irresponsible as a driver.
Ivanhoe Wednesday 21 December 2011 1.04pm
Rambling Phil wrote:
When a pedestrian walks unwisely, they are a danger to themselves. When a car driver does so, they are a threat to others. I can't see how it's possible for a pedestrian to be as irresponsible as a driver.
It's possible, Phil. A pedestrian nearly had me off my scooter this week in daylight. They were near the kerb, facing away from the road, standing still, as I approached. As I got to about 10 yds away, they turned and briskly took two or three steps out into the road without looking.

I was going slowly, and keeping an eye out, as it's a road where plenty of people do unpredictable things, but even so I only just had time to stop a foot or two short of where they were standing, frozen, in the road, looking at me as if I'd come from nowhere (with my headlight on, my hi-viz vest, and my white helmet; so as to give myself the best chance of being seen).

Undoubtedly, if I'd not have been able to stop, the pedestrian would have been injured. But very likely if I'd have hit them, I would also have come off, injuring myself (and damaging my bike, which I'd have had to pay for myself because there would be no one to claim against).

I agree with your other points, and generally support priority for pedestrians, but I think it's important to recognise that pedestrians can cause accidents which affect others as well as themselves. My view is that we all have a responsibility to behave sensibly on the road, pedestrians included.

...if you press it, they will come.
Rambling Phil Wednesday 21 December 2011 2.54pm
You're right, of course, Ivanhoe, that a pedestrian can endanger others as well as themselves, and that sounds like a potentially nasty incident you managed to avoid, but it's surely not as irresponsible as driving a hard, fast moving, metal vehicle (that's designed to protect you in the event of an impact) carelessly.
Ivanhoe Wednesday 21 December 2011 3.17pm
Don't want to take this off topic, but I don't think it's useful to talk about degrees of irresponsibility.

I think pedestrians can be irresponsible, as can road users (be they car drivers or cyclists), and that they can all cause accidents. I'd rather have fewer accidents and fewer people getting hurt, so I'm not too bothered about whether A might get hurt more or less than B.

I would like everyone to realise that acting irresponsibly on the road is dangerous, whether on foot or in/on a vehicle.

...if you press it, they will come.
jamesup Wednesday 21 December 2011 3.36pm
I'd disagree. It's a question of science, the amount of harm you can do is related to the energy of a potential impact - that's mass x velocity. Motor Vehicles have higher of both, they also have considerable protection for the occupants.

There are outliers, and there are exceptions, but trying to deal with road safety whilst not accepting the fact that the cause is predominantly motoring, and the victim predominantly pedestrian, is a dead end.
Boss St Bloke Wednesday 21 December 2011 3.56pm
jamesup wrote:
I'd disagree. It's a question of science, the amount of harm you can do is related to the energy of a potential impact - that's mass x velocity.

I dunno - if some idiot wandered out in front of a full-up 188 and it swerved into a packed bus stop, how much damage would that be?

Ivanhoe Wednesday 21 December 2011 3.57pm
So, when a friend of mine wrote off her car and ended up in hospital swerving to avoid an animal who'd run onto the road, it was her fault, James?

I'm sorry, but what you're saying is (in this context) irrelevant. Yes, if a hard fast heavy thing hits a soft slow light thing, the soft slow thing will come off worse.

But the aim here is to reduce accidents. And to reduce accidents we need to educate those who are causing the accidents. Pedestrians can cause accidents just as much as cars can, and your logic (concentrate on the car drivers) will do nothing to change that.

My interest is in reducing accidents. Which, to me, means reducing dangerous behaviour. FOR EVERYONE. I think driving standards have become worse, but I also think pedestrian behaviour is worse. Both of these things can, and do, cause accidents.

As I've said above, I'm keen to give pedestrians priority in many/most cases. But every day I see pedestrians behaving in ways that put themselves and others at risk, and to absolve them of responsibility just because they'll come off worse is not helpful.

...if you press it, they will come.
richard_badger Friday 20 January 2012 12.55pm
"Boris told: hurry up with Tower Bridge Road crossing and bike boxes"

So is the question now ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ for a pedestrian crossing and bike priority box? Good news if so, but is this some official change in policy? Previously I thought the Mayor just committed to 'considering' a crossing. It would be interesting to see the text of his change of heart. Shame nothing will happen anytime soon, though I guess another serious / fatal incident would accelerate the timeframe... let's hope not...
James Hatts Friday 20 January 2012 12.59pm
The full text of what Boris said in his written response to Caroline Pidgeon's question is quoted in the story.

It's hedged with caveats, but this is the key bit:

"TfL is progressing its study and is seeking to develop a scheme that would provide push-button pedestrian crossings and advanced stop lines for cyclists where doing so is found to be feasible."

That is slightly closer to a firm commitment than anything he's said before on the subject on the public record.

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