March 12 2014 Latest news:
Shekha Vyas, Reporter
Friday, January 17, 2014
More than 500 pedestrian crossings in London have seen the amount of “green man” time to cross roads reduced, alarming a city watchdog and politicians.
Data from Transport for London reveals Newham crossing times have been cut at 24 sites, amid a shortening at 568 intersections London-wide.
This is while the number of pedestrians killed or injured jumped by 23 per cent from 2011 to 2012, with a six per cent rise in Newham.
However, when the London Assembly requested more recent data, TfL was unable to provide figures for 2013.
Valerie Shawcross, chair of the Transport Committee at the London Assembly is backing a motion to trial extended crossing times.
She said “The impression we get is that TfL are in denial about pedestrian safety.”
TfL say the cut complies with Department of Transport standards, which calculate a walking speed of 1.2 meters per second.
Campaigners warned of the impact that cuts to crossing times will have on the elderly and people with disabilities.
Lianna Etkind, campaigns coordinator at charity, Transport for All, said the national standard of 1.2 meters does not factor in the aging population and has not been updated since 1950.
She said: “Older and disabled people shouldn’t have to scurry and rush fearfully if we want to get out and about.”
Lilli Matson, head of delivery planning for surface transport at TfL, said there was a decrease in pedestrian deaths over the last eight years, and that TfL will be working on a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan to be published later this year.
A Newham council spokesman said: “We take pedestrian safety and the reduction of accidents extremely seriously.
“We are not aware that Transport for London specifically consulted us on these changes in Newham.”
He said, the council will report concerns of Newham residents to TfL, which is responsible for traffic signals in London.