Monday, 23 May 2011

It's not just cyclists part deux

In a previous post, I mentioned the fairly unpleasant crossing facilities between the high street and Willow walk.

Freewheeler commented that he had raised the issue of cars blocking the pedestrian crossing whilst waiting for the lights at Selborne road with a road planner. Who had denied that this ever happened.

One needs to accept one's mistakes. Clearly the photograph below, taken on Saturday is some kind of mirage.

I waited for a little while at the crossing, and a pattern emerged. The lights would turn red at Selborne Road and the traffic would back up across the junction. Pedestrians would walk between the stationary cars, occasionally being beeped or shouted at by traffic going the other way which could move. The more timid pedestrians, or those with prams / in wheelchairs etc. would wait until the lights turned red, but then either had to go in between the cars or wait until the lights at Selborne turned green and all the cars cleared. If they did the latter they would have a fraction of the time allocated to cross.

Shortly after the picture was taken, the cars started to move and the blue Peugeot hurried the crossing pedestrian along by starting forward as she crossed the front of the car. Many pedestrians got beeped, including, disappointingly by a number of buses that used the horn as an early warning system to indicate they weren't going to slow down, less still stop, for anyone silly enough to be trying to cross whilst the bus driver had the green light.

If Waltham Forest cannot understand that this junction is a problem and that it is really deeply unpleasant for people to use, then I want what they are taking.

1 comment:

  1. There is a growing "reclaimn the streets" (no initial capitals) theme here, and in things going on around the city. Like the Blackfriars Bridge flash-mob in Friday morning, the fairly positive coverage that has got (so far) in the media and the Planning Inspectorate's comments on the Mayor's Transport Strategy - that the Mayor's duty on transport is NOT simply to facilitate faster, smoother movement of motor vehicles on the roads network, but to take proper account of other road users.

    Your pic appears to illustrate a key feature of the urban environment which justifies (perhaps) distnguishing cities from rural or suburban areas: in the city centre, non-motorists (mainly pedestrians, but cyclists as well) outnumber motorists by an order of magnitude. Once you get into the deep centre, ie City, Westminster, K&C, Camden, Hackney, the significant majority of travellers haven't set foot in a motor vehicle (except in a few cases a bus) since they left their homes in the suburbs that morning.

    No-one ever considers whether de-congesting the former and speeding up or smoothing their journey times is also important, despite the fact that quite clearly their time is also valuable, to them at least, and their simple proportionality suggests that collectively if not indivudally their time is more valuable than that of motorists.