Posts Tagged road crossing

Cyclists should be allowed to run red lights, says Boris

That’s according to the Evening Standard.

The headline is more dramatic than the story; it’s not all red lights that Boris is talking about, but turning left on a red light. If the red light is for traffic going one-way, say east-west, then the cyclist will be joining the north-south flow, and should not conflict with east-west pedestrians who will also have a red light. So it could work.

The Mayor of London can’t actually change the law on cycling through red lights – that would take national government action – but he is certainly provoking debate. As one cyclist comments in the ES, “Traffic lights are not there because people think they are fun, they are there for safety reasons.” Sanctioning breaking laws that don’t suit you is a slippery slope (and yes, I know Lib Dems have taken a stand on ID cards) and you have to have a very clear rationale.

I don’t have a problem with the left-turn idea, where there’s no conflict with pedestrians. But I don’t know how many lives it will save. After all, many of the fatal accidents involving cyclists and large vehicles occur when the cyclist is going straight ahead, but the vehicle is turning left. And Lisa Pontecorvo was killed wheeling her bike across the road.

My bane is cyclists ignoring zebra crossings and red lights at pelicans. There’s no way there’s any safety argument for that; simply an unwillingness to stop or slow down for pedestrians.

I suspect that Boris’ big idea isn’t about practicalities but about positioning. It’s a way to appear cycle-friendly while passing the buck to the Government.

Meanwhile, one thing the Mayor could do, as soon as he likes, is get rid of the ubiquitous railings which trap cyclists and pedestrians alike at junctions – like the exciting plans for Oxford Circus.

No change in the law required. So what are you waiting for, Boris?


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Angel crossing: still time to have your say

There’s still time to respond to TfL’s consultation on the route 38 improvement programme – which is our big chance to get Angel crossing sorted out. You can read more about the plans and download a consultation document here; the consultation period ends on 31st July (next Thursday). Say YES to Option A to get the crossing moved.

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Angel crossing in the Tribune

On Tuesday, Islington Tribune journalist Peter Gruner and I took our lives in our hands to witness the scenes at Angel crossing at rush hour.

The Tribune is widely-read locally, and I wanted Peter to see for himself how bad the current crossing is, and how much better it would be if relocated further north.

So I’m pleased to see the story’s in this week’s paper. If you support the campaign, you can sign the petition here.

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Angel crossing

I had lunch with my friend Daniel, who works at the Angel, today.

We went for a bargain meal at the legendary Indian Veg restaurant in Chapel Market. They do an all you can eat veggie buffet for under £5, excellent value in slightly odd surroundings. The restaurant is decorated with photos of impossibly beautiful Indian women attributing their good looks to their veggie diet. We live in hope...

As we negotiated the Angel crossing (the one from outside the tube towards Liverpool Road) we once again had the situation where the traffic was still passing while pedestrians had the green light. This must be one of the worst designed crossings in London. Thousands of people coming out of Angel tube or getting off the southbound buses need to get across to the shops, to get home to Barnsbury & beyond, or to get a northbound bus.

You get trapped on a totally inadequate island, with sheep-pen railings (unpleasant for pedestrians, dangerous for cyclists). You have to wait an age for the green light. And if you play by the rules and wait for the green man, traffic is still passing; so you may as well do what many pedestrians do all the time – a dangerous dodge whenever the road looks clear.

One of the problems is that the crossing is just south of the point where Liverpool Road joins Upper Street. So pedestrians have to cope with 2 streams of traffic. Back in 2004, I ran a campaign to get the crossing redesigned; even in the foulest weather, people were happy to queue up to sign the petition, the problems with the current crossing are so evident. With help from Lynne Featherstone we petitioned the Mayor (it’s TfL road); and we got the Council’s backing for a feasibility study.

One solution is to relocate the crossing to the north of the junction, or add a second crossing there. That means pedestrians could cross while the Upper Street traffic was already stopped to let the Liverpool Road traffic through. It would also be much better for passengers changing between bus and tube. I think it’s a brilliantly simple solution: but under Ken Livingstone, nothing happened.

Ken’s big idea was to close the road exit from Liverpool Road to Upper Street. Why is this a bonkers idea? Firstly it’s likely to increase the volume of north-south traffic on Upper Street, making it more difficult and dangerous to cross. Secondly, it would route local traffic further round the back streets of Barnsbury before they could exit onto the A1. Thirdly it would disrupt police access to the police station. Oh, and it would block two bus routes, and taxi access to the taxi rank. So much for supporting public transport. Totally barmy.

However, with a new Mayor in place, we have a chance to get some action. The petition is still available to sign online. A better Angel crossing is still worth the effort.

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