Saturday, 7 November 2009

Permanent Red

If you want to see what’s wrong with Waltham Forest council’s approach to pedestrians, you need only to look at the junction of Walthamstow High Street and Willow Walk.

Walthamstow High Street ward is represented by three councillors who plainly never walk down the High Street they purport to represent. (You would think that at least one of them would have noticed that the cycle stands beside Percy Ingles bakery have been obstructed on a daily basis for the past two years, but plainly cycling is of zero interest to Liaquat Ali, Johar Khan, and James O’Rourke.)

You would also think that at least one of them would have noticed what a total shambles the junction of High Street and Willow Walk is. Firstly, the car supremacist officers of the highway engineering section decided to put in a right turn phase for drivers. So, even though this road is out of bounds for drivers between 10am – 4pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, pedestrians are kept waiting at red, while non-existent drivers have six hours of each day devoted to their needs. Lunatic traffic phasing and blatant discrimination against pedestrians doesn’t get much more absurd than this.

In addition, traffic regularly backs up from the lights at the junction with Selborne Road, resulting in cars stopping across the High Street pedestrian crossing points. This could easily be dealt with by the introduction of yellow cross-hatching at the High Street/Willow Walk, making it an offence to obstruct the crossing. But neither the High Street councillors nor the officers could give a toss, so the daily shambles of the regular obstruction by stationary vehicles of one of the busiest crossing points in the Borough continues on a daily basis.

On Thursday, amazingly, I noticed that the pedestrian crossing light at this junction stayed red, continuously. It never changed to green. The only green light was for the non-existent drivers. Was this a glitch, or is Waltham Forest experimenting with ‘naked streets’ and abandoning pedestrians to their fate?

(Below) Pedestrians kept waiting at red while the lights change to green for non-existent car drivers in a crowded market/pedestrian zone.