London’s ‘maze’ pedestrian crossings

Image copyright Shutterstock Image caption London has seen construction cost more than £80m to clear the sites I wrote the headline “Why does the new pedestrian crossing at Charing Cross look like a maze?”…

London's 'maze' pedestrian crossings

Image copyright Shutterstock Image caption London has seen construction cost more than £80m to clear the sites

I wrote the headline “Why does the new pedestrian crossing at Charing Cross look like a maze?” – but I didn’t need to make the same story into a maze.

There is simply nothing to be seen at Charing Cross, other than the temporary scaffolding that hides a working traffic light from view.

Is it the modern motorist’s device of choice to obstruct the view of others?

What is it about pedestrian crossings that are so jealously guarded?

Image copyright PA Images Image caption The new bridge has been built over Fulham Road

More: London pedestrian crossing covers a traffic light

The answer depends on who you ask.

Ian Lawlis, co-creator of The Traffic Kingz, an online advice service for travelling in London, said that they aim to “uncover the outer workings of London traffic” by breaking down the fine print to identify pitfalls of the city’s capital way.

“Many of the traffic lights at junctions appear to be designed to obstruct the road,” he said.

Image copyright Richard Stott/Getty Images Image caption The site on Pelham Road in Islington, north London, has been nicknamed ‘the pavement’

“A similar pattern of interference is found at public railway crossings where pedestrians are allowed to cross the road, with vehicles in front being forced to wait a considerable length of time while the pedestrian crosses.

“Sometimes by the time someone is put in a suitable crossing position it’s too late. Devices like this are a sneaky way to do this in the background of London.”

Image copyright PA Images Image caption This is the bridge built over Pelham Road near London’s Angel railway crossing

Drivers are often put off by a pedestrian crossing area, but they do want one if it is secured and secure to the road.

“It’s understood by motorists that such structures are on the alert for motorists if they break the rules and they must drive safely around them,” said Ian.

“Judging by the speed of traffic around them, it’s usually down to two people if the crossings can be interfered with.

“Generally the tactic is worth it as traffic can get congested if too many people are slowing down to cross and cars will get crushed if they drive in front of them.”

Some pedestrian crossings are just signs covered in reflective tape, installed with a warning light above them that will flash red if pedestrians do not move over a short time later.

It’s just a matter of judgment. You have to know the boundaries of a pedestrian crossing. Tom Howard

TALK ABOUT IT

Have you had problems with a pedestrian crossing? Send your comments to [email protected], quoting Your View in the subject line.

Tom Howard, who commutes into London from Croydon every day, does not give a fig for speeding motorists but said that the signs he sees around every pedestrian crossing are an eyesore.

“The infrastructure seems to be following the traffic, or is being preoccupied by vehicles with right of way,” he said.

“In the mornings I see children running across the pedestrian crossing, yet they’re told by the people about to cross that they must wait on the pavement.

“The same goes for children from schools who are in the road, but people come to their rescue with a call to the ambulance if they get in trouble, which they’re better qualified to do.

“I’ve seen bits of paper with the latest pedestrian crossing traffic rules printed across the top, which you can’t read due to its glossy white surface. The need for someone to make a choice, such as where you need to cross, is obvious, but they never seem to give you enough time to make that decision.

“To me the bollards look totally pointless as it’s just a matter of judgment. You have to know the boundaries of a pedestrian crossing. If you see a child wandering across the road and they’re in danger, you have to move in a hurry. For anything else, you have to give time to the person crossing.

“You see people driving in front of other vehicles and it’s their fault as they need to move, but it can’t be right all the time.”

Is the city’s pedestrian crossings the ultimate status symbol? Tell us what you think .

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