Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cars v Pedestrians

This started as a comment in Andrew's blog (does this title look familiar?), but thought I may as well continue on here:

Last week I was crossing a busy road not far from my house with the traffic lights, and nearly got ran over by a woman doing a right hand turn. This particular intersection consists of a major 6 lane road with median strip, a local side street, and the entrance to a railway station carpark. I was crossing from the station to the side street on the right hand side of the road facing on coming traffic. I set out across the road when the green man appeared (not an alien!), as I crossed the median I checked over my shoulder for cars turning right. As I stepped out into the roadway I realised that the car was not slowing down and so took a step back onto the median. At this point she braked, but because I'd stepped back shed continue on. Maybe I should have held my ground, but I didn't want to get ran over (obviously). What really annoyed me though was the fact that she mouthed a thank you as she drove past. All I could do was stand there with my arms open in a questioning gesture as it happened too quick for me to form words in my mouth.

This intersection has always been dangerous to cross at due to drivers in a hurry to get out of the station car park, and it's pretty much the only legal way to get to the station from that side of the road. For as long as I can remember this intersection has had flashing "watch for pedestrians" signs for cars doing right hand turns into the major road.

Last year an old woman was killed by a vehicle doing a right hand turn in exactly the same location. (I believe the vehicle was a bus, but don't quote me.) Afterwards there was a campaign by residents and the local ward councilor to improve the pedestrian crossing. This was somewhat successful, and resulted in some tweaking of the traffic light sequence by extending the walk time and larger brighter LED "watch for pedestrians" signs. The extended walk sequence allows you to get about half way across the intersection before the lights go green for cars traveling in the same direction and turning right (left hand turns from these directions have always been controlled by arrows). This is the point at which I nearly got hit last week, and was certainly not the first time, I've had many a close call at this location in the same circumstances. There is no room for either an underpass or overpass due to powerlines being located in the exact spot you'd put them (more on the effectiveness of these in slightly different circumstances at Peter Parker's blog), and short of having a "pedestrians only-only" time in the intersection I don't know what can be done.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I remember that location now. Sounds like a bad one. Where Lakeside Drive meets Albert Road is another where there is a similar treatment. I haven't seen a close call but I can see that there is potential.