3 December 2012…..TODAY, Monday 3rd December is the DEADLINE – the last available opportunity to sign this epetition – raised in the wake of a serious pedestrian accident at Grand Parade, Brighton.
A stream of comments behind the Argus article about the accident, addressing the ‘new’ side-on pedestrian crossing lights and problems using them, were the inspiration for doing it. They are, simply, hated and resented.
They are mostly silent so useless to visually impaired/blind. They are invisible if there is a person standing by them. So we jaywalk. We are mostly hard-wired to seek out The Green Man/Red Man opposite and get confused when it isn’t there. This is especially true for older people or those in a hurry. So, irritated, we jaywalk.
When you are walking straight ahead you can see the Green/Red Man and what colour is on and get your head in gear for deciding whether to slow up or hurry up. And you arrive at the curb primed and planning the crossing. You can’t do that with these side-on lights. Rather than stop and engage with them, people jaywalk if the coast looks clear. This new system makes stopping more of an option, dangerously. They provoke risky behaviour.
Maybe in a quiet country village these things can safely replace the Green Man but in a busy urban environment they are a menace, even if positioned higher up. Swivelling necks and bodies at roadsides and then having to look up to see the blasted colour of the light is a challenge from the seat of a wheelchair, a motor buggy, or if just walking wounded on crutches or using walking sticks to support balance and capacity.
Where is the definitive research that got the Green Man system condemned to removal in favour of this side-on foolishness? Or did some non-pedestrian, car-borne nincompoop design the side-on replacement and then get some justifying research done to promote it? God knows the world of research is littered with conflicting opinions.
I have yet to meet a pedestrian who sings the praises of the side-on pedestrian lights that cost hard-pressed auhorities more than they can spare to instal. Two reasons not to do it.