Posts Tagged safety

Accident on Pentonville Road

I’ve just got word of another accident involving a pedestrian trying to cross the road.

This time it happened at the junction of Pentonville Road and Penton Rise where a number 30 bus apparently collided with a 14 year old girl, presumably on her way home from school.

I’m told that the girl is at UCLH and is waiting for X-rays and scans and that the police are doing a full investigation.

This is little more than a month from another serious accident on Essex Road.

And many months after the Clerkenwell councillors first raised the dangerous state of the Penton Rise junction for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Boris talks a lot about safety, but what we need at Penton Rise is action!

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Islington Gazette: Woman fights for life after crash

Shocking news of a serious accident on Essex Road.

A woman was knocked down by a van on Saturday night, and is now seriously ill in hospital. We don’t yet know all the facts of this sad incident. But it underlines why Boris’ plan to reduce crossing times for pedestrians is so wrong.

Just yesterday I was with a group of local people, including pensioners, mums with buggies and people with mobility problems, all illustrating the difficulty of getting across Islington Park Street before the green man turned red. Unless you really sprint across, it can’t be done: there’s barely 5 seconds to cross.

If people don’t have convenient places to cross safely, we’ll get more accidents not fewer.

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On your marks!

Not very impressed with Boris’ latest wheeze.

He’s reducing the pedestrian time at crossings, and proposing to console us with a countdown telling us how long we have left.
First it’s postmen having to trot around London, and now it’s the rest of us.

There are already pedestrian crossings in Islington where you have barely 5 seconds to get across the road.

I’m not against countdowns at crossings. They’re used in central Amsterdam at busy pedestrian crossings, where there are also trams and cyclists in transit. But in Amsterdam the countdown is on the red phase, telling pedestrians how long they have to wait, a bit like countdown at bus stops. Altogether more pedestrian-friendly than a countdown on green, telling you you’ve run out of time to cross. Surely that’s what the flashing green sign is for anyway?

It’s obviously a while since Boris got off his bike and walked about. What happens when the countdown gets to zero and you are still wheeling your shopping trolley or pushchair across?

I know the Olympics are coming, but this is ridiculous.

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Angel crossing update

A week is a long time in politics, a year is a short time in bureaucracy.

Make that 4 years, in the case of Transport for London. I’ve blogged before about the pelican crossing outside Angel tube station. It’s a nightmare: southbound traffic from two roads (Upper Street and Liverpool Road) feeds into it and hapless pedestrians who wait for the ‘green man’ find that traffic is still passing, because the signal timings are so bad.It’s usually safer to ignore the signals, keep your eyes open, cross your fingers, and make a run for it. Not the best place to practice the highway code.

Back in 2004, I launched a campaign to improve the crossing. We got the Council on board; it seemed everyone agreed that something should be done. In particular, we argued that moving the crossing, or adding a second crossing, north of the junction with Liverpool Road (so pedestrians would compete with less traffic), would be best. With some 46,000 people a day coming out of the station, you’d think the case for change would be urgent.

Well, finally we hear that TfL may consider moving the crossing, as part of a consultation on changes to the 38 bus route. The problem is that it may be bundled with other changes that are less acceptable to people in Islington. So we need to ensure that residents know this is their chance to get action on the crossing. And that TfL are left in no doubt that whatever happens to the rest of their plans, we still want the crossing moved.

So earlier this week, I was out with a couple of my team first thing, trying to get the perfect photo to illustrate the problem. We had a 15 minute ‘window’ on our way to work, surely enough time for one snap? Easier said than done, as Keith & I lurk in the middle island, with lorries, buses and the Islington rush hour all around us.

‘Stand outside the railing’, yelled Adam, my man with the camera. Visions of this blog coming to you from A&E, featuring ambulance response times… But in the end we got the ‘money shot’ – cars vs people while the green man shows – and hurried off to our various day jobs. The results are up on the campaign site and Facebook. As for TfL, it’s their job to sort out this crossing, now.

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Cycle with a smile

Here is a great website. Warrington Cycle Campaign have collected cyclist-unfriendly features from around the country.

Now I may only be a holiday cyclist these days, but I vividly remember the curse of the random kerb, surprise pothole or sudden end of cycle lane from my student days.

There are many more dedicated cycle facilities now, but as the Warrington website shows, that’s not always a good thing. The open road is a lot more practical than some of these disasters.

I love this site because they’ve mastered the art of campaigning with humour. And you can even get it as a book.

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Kings Cross station: no entry for locals?

The Kings Cross community website has been updating us on the the campaign to keep pedestrian acccess to the north-east end of the station from York Way. For years, pedestrians have been able to reach platform 1 at Kings Cross from York Way opposite its junction with Wharfdale Road. This has huge benefits for the users concerned, and also for the operation of the current station.

One of the big challenges for the current Kings Cross station is that its concourse space struggles to accommodate the volume of passengers. And the new permanent entrance to the station will be on the far, western side. So having another entrance to manage passenger flow is good news all round.

Or would be, if Network Rail were minded to retain it. Frustratingly, as Sophie Talbot reports here, Network Rail has rejected community suggestions for a footbridge to secure pedestrian access at this entrance for the future. Yet the argument for increasing access here is growing, not diminishing: the more exits the better, in case of security alerts, fires or accidents. Distributing passenger flow around the station, reducing bottle-necks and increasing safety is surely the right approach.

Network Rail are ignoring all sorts of external factors; from the growing numbers of bus passengers waiting further down York Way to the recent investment in making Wharfdale Road safer and more attractive. These all strengthen the case for encouraging people into the station at this point to minimise pavement congestion and make best use of pedestrian routes. And that’s without taking into account all the new homes in the area still to come. Good connections outside the station may not be Network Rail’s problem, but they need to remember that this is what integrated transport planning is supposed to be all about.

Network Rail are arrogantly abandoning the long-term wishes of local people, clearly expressed by both the council and a very active local community. As Sophie argues, by the time the transformation of Kings Cross is complete, Islington residents will have be living with disruption for a lifetime. So the community is entitled to get some benefit.

Getting improved connections for Islington residents in and out of a redeveloped Kings Cross has always been a key aim. Throughout my time on the Kings Cross Partnership, we pressed for making the Islington side of the project work for Islington. As as the lead councillor for transport in Islington, I championed the policy priority that “the improved national and international rail links in and around Islington, especially at Kings Cross and St Pancras stations, [should] enhance connections to and within Islington” and got it written into Islington’s sustainable transport strategy. So it’s incredibly frustrating that Network Rail are ignoring this now.

On a personal level, as a woman who used to use that entrance & exit to Kings Cross as part of my daily commute, I know that it’s not merely handy but also really important for passenger safety. So I fully support the community’s refusal to take no for an answer.

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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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