Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (WTC 40B)



  1.  The Committee asked:

    —  whether the guidance to local authorities in Local Transport Notes 1/95 and 2/95 is still correct;

    —  whether any revisions are anticipated in the near future; and

    —  for information about the comparative costs of providing a staggered rather than a straight pedestrian crossing.

  2.  There is a difference in law between straight and staggered signal-controlled pedestrian crossings. A straight crossing, even with a central refuge, is legally a single crossing. A staggered crossing is two separate crossings.

  3.  The guidance in Local Transport Notes 1/95 and 2/95 is still correct, but is being supplemented to take account of the development of "Puffin" (Pedestrian User Friendly INtelligent) light-controlled crossings.

  4.  The Department recommends, and will continue to recommend, that local traffic authorities should consider providing a refuge if the width of the road makes it potentially intimidating to cross without some form of protection.

  5.  A straight crossing with a refuge can create problems in the case of the familiar pelican signal controlled crossing. The sequence of lights include flashing amber, when vehicles may move forward provided that there is no-one on the crossing. The problem arises when someone is on the crossing, but is still on the refuge or approaching it from the far side. They have the right of way, but drivers may not realise this and will sometimes proceed across the crossing on the basis that their part of it is clear. This is potentially dangerous, and the Department does not recommend this type of crossing.

  6.  With Pelican crossings the confusion can be avoided by having a staggered crossing.

  7.  With the Puffin crossings, which are now being introduced, there is no flashing amber signal. There is a "green man" phase for pedestrians, after which the traffic lights remain at red while the pedestrians complete their crossings, their presence being detected by sensors. It should therefore be possible to install straight crossings with refuges but without the safety problem described above, and the Department will encourage local traffic authorities to consider this option.

  8.  There are many signal-controlled pedestrian crossings at junctions which do not include a flashing amber sequence, because the traffic is being held back for other motor traffic as well as for pedestrians. In such cases, the local traffic authority may want to separate the two halves of a crossing for traffic management reasons, and such a decision will not be affected by the availability of Puffin crossings.

  9.  Costs. The cost of a single Pelican crossing varies greatly between sites but is typically around £15,000. The addition of a refuge will increase this cost, and a staggered crossing may cost up to twice this amount.

March 2001

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