Transport for London has been putting up notices that certain roadside railings are no longer considered necessary and will be removed by September 17. The ones I am aware of are at the southern end of Tower Bridge Road and on the pedestrian crossing of the adjoining roundabout which links Old and New Kent Roads.
I called TfL today (annoyed by yet another 0845 number which costs from my mobile phone) and told them that these railings represent money already spent, are costing nothing to keep in place, are not an eyesore, and arguably have some protective purpose, eg in case of wayward vehicles or to keep toddlers and young children safe from very busy traffic.
Moreover, it will cost to remove these railings and I would like to know if this really is money well spent, especially in these supposedly austere times ? The chap at TfL was very pleasant and said he would pass on my comments.
Anyone understand the apparent logic and justification for such a strange bureaucratic decision as this railings removal ?! Thanks in advance.
Can't understand the logic unless of course Boris has realised the price of scrap metals....you will have so many accidents with pedestrians, teenagers taking a gamble and crossing the road, that is why at the base of the flyover in new kent road there is a barrier of railings as schoolchildren were risking their lives in crossing in a hurry to get to their friends..
The new replacement junction for the Elephant southern roundabout is more open, looks good and, I could be wrong, hasn't led to an increase in people wandering out into traffic due to the lack of a barrier.
Ten years ago, Kensington and Chelsea experimented with removing the railings from Kensington High Street and found that the number of pedestrian accidents dropped by 60%.
Aesthetically and practically, this is an improvement to an ugly junction.
The railings are an eyesore. Since they removed them all from Tower Bridge Road up to the bridge itself and all the way down Tooley street to Jamaica road the place looks much better and less like a cattle pen.
They have also removed them around the E&C last year (London Road, St George's Road) and the only downside is that you don't have anywhere to park bicycles anymore. I also suspect it's got to do with the price of metal. The Council removes them before professional metal thieves do.
Removing railings definitely improves the appearance of the area. One assumes (hopes) that they have considered whether the removal will lead to more incidents. I actually think that railings are quite dangerous as people get trapped between them and vehicles; jump over them; rush to get round them, etc.
The TfL Guardrail Removal Programme is part of it's 2011 "Better Streets" initiative to remove unnecessary street culture such as signs, boxes and guard rails.
The latest theory on crossing safety is that pedestrian guard rails (PRGs) encourage people to be over-reliant on them and not concentrate on using their eyes and ears to cross safely. Also that people walk around them or leap over them making their crossing less safe.
Each removal is assessed against a series of criteria. In particular PRGs outside schools are almost always kept. There is some detail about the assesment in this TfL paper [PDF].
The removal of railings at the Borough tube station junction have been a positive change for me. There is also a notice up to remove the railings near Tesco on Long Lane - for me they make a small middle crossing even smaller and are unnecessary. If you watch most people crossing there they actually cross at either side of the traffic island rather than navigating the island itself.
I believe the removed railings are either re-used or recycled.
Actually, guard-rails on a traffic island on the Euston Road probably saved my life once. I was crossing the northern (eastbound) carriageway of the road - quite legally, the green man light was showing, but I was running as I was in a hurry, tripped over the northern kerb of the traffic island and went head first into the railings on the south side of the island. If the railings hadn't stopped me I would have gone straight on into the fast-moving traffic in the westbound carriageway - probably under a bus. I don't run across roads now!