Tuesday 22 June 2010

car supremacist Boris Johnson’s assault on walking

One of the first things Boris Johnson did on being elected mayor was dump a number of pedestrianisation schemes, including the scheme for that race track known as Parliament Square. Now, in keeping with his desire to put the car first, Boris Johnson has begun cutting the time pedestrians get to cross the road as he tries to speed up traffic in London.

Countdown indicators are being installed at eight sites — including Oxford Circus — to tell walkers how long they have to cross. But the “green man” will be illuminated for the government minimum of six seconds — down from nine or 10 seconds.

A trial last year found this had “no significant impact on safety” and increased vehicle flow by 6.5 per cent. But it was discovered that more people crossed on the “red man”, while those with disabilities felt “rushed” and “less safe”. About one in five serious and fatal pedestrian injuries in London last year were at crossings.

Last year's tests found “statistically significant” reductions in the number of occasions when a pedestrian had to stop in the road to allow a vehicle to pass, but an increase in the times when vehicles had to swerve or slow down to avoid a pedestrian.

TfL and the Department of Transport will study the results to consider whether to roll out the technology to more of London's 6,000 traffic lights.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Pedestrians should benefit because it will be absolutely clear about whether it is safe to cross or not. Cheap, sensible solutions like this must be trialled if we are to avoid gridlock.”

Note how in Professor Glaister's perverted world it is pedestrians who are made responsible for gridlock. This is lunacy. The car is an absurd way of getting around central London and nothing is more likely to exacerbate gridlock than making walking and cycling so unpleasant and inconvenient that using a car is a far more attractive option. This farce is

costing £750,000

(worth remembering when the world is stuffed full of pathetic cycling campaigners like the LCC's David Love who whimper that the money just isn't there to spend on cycling).

As Living Streets rightly says this scheme is an "expensive way to increase traffic at the expense of pedestrians".