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Discussion Starter #1
I've never been a big fan of traffic calming schemes, partly because I don't think they achieve what they are supposed to achieve, i.e. making the roads safer primarily for pedestrians, and partly because I think a lot of the money would be better spent on other things, not least educating the public that stepping out into a ton and a half of moving metal is going to hurt a bit more than they think it might if it hits them.

But nontheless I've seen the local council install more and more of these various schemes in recent years. Here's a pic of the latest one (sorry, don't know how to post an actual pic). This was at a busy main road crossroads, with three of the four roads having two lanes, one for right turns, and the fourth one leading into the main shopping area in the district.



It all looks very nice, but where there were two lanes the traffic now merges into one at the roundabout - with no prior warning - so motorists used to the two lanes now find themselves jostling for position on the approach.

But the worst thing is there are small ramps at every entrance and exit to the roundabout, with the raised part of the road done in large brickwork of the same type and level with the footpath. There are no official crossings as such, where previously there were light-controlled ones and the end result is that pedestrians think the raised part is a crossing, part of the footpath, and traffic should stop, whilst traffic doesn't actually know whether it's supposed to stop or not.

Therefore you get people walking into the road thinking the traffic should/is going to stop - made worse by the fact that traffic DOES slow down considerably due to the ramps (which becomes the pedestrians' cue to cross the road) - whilst motorists don't know whether they are supposed to stop or not so you get some weaving around the now-freely wandering pedestrians while others do stop, often unexpectedly either because they're not sure what to do or because someone has stepped out in front of them causing those behind to slam on (remember they're at a junction so are close together anyway) and it's havoc.

How can this be safer for anyone?
 

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Because it Just is.....Your details have now been placed on a Government Rabble Rouser and Malcontent Database for having the temerity to Question Government policies and will be used against you in the near future ;)
 

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Totally agree. Too much time and effort spent on making traffic slower instead of making it safer IMHO. Adding confusing road layouts, markings, signs, speed bump, etc. takes away the time drivers spend concentrating on the task of driving :(
 

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It is because the people at the local council sit at their desks all day and have no idea what actually goes on with their creations.

We have chicanes aroiund this way, one of which forces traffic onto the wrong side of the road just before a blind bend.

It is only a matter of time until someone is killed.
 

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Priority to pedestrians? Or to that wonderful invention the wheel? Legs propelled us first, followed by the use of lesser creatures to convey us, and now we have those wheeled machines, that were a slave to our cause, and now have become our masters?

By and large we are not that badly off with our transport systems, compared say to some Indian,Asian in general, and Middle Eastern attempts at the ultimate in traffic chaos?

Most of our road problems relate imho to the fact that there are just too many vehicles on our roads which are no longer able to cope with the sheer volume of modern day urban traffic? No one seems to want to admit to this fact? I'm off to those rural tracks in Scotland with my stick, for some fresh air.:D :lol:
 

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Can't really tell about this one from the pic, it just looks like a roundabout. From what you say, it sounds like this one is badly designed though, especially as it appears to have introduced an element of uncertainty.

I'd say it's hard to generalise about "traffic calming", because there are about 1000 different flavours of it, and even the same thing can work differently in 2 different locations. In some places there is a clear need to shift the balance back from giving freedom to cars to meeting the needs of pedestrians.
 
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In some places there is a clear need to shift the balance back from giving freedom to cars to meeting the needs of pedestrians.
Perhaps that was the theory behind the latest idea in Eastleigh, Hampshire?

At one end of the town they have removed all the raised pavements, with "suggested traffic flows" marked in pretty coloured bricks that differ for vehicles and pedestrians being in different hues all on one level.......

Bearing in mind that at least 75% of the local populace consist of pensioners or chavs this can lead to some quite interesting situations involving having to run to avoid being skittled by a car whilst walking on the "pavement".....though in all fairness it is a trial in a car too as the pretty bricks varying hues are not too clear when viewed from a sitting position....."where the hell am I supposed to go now" being my thought when first driving into the area!

I daresay it will all be put back to tarmac and proper pavements next year, at least I know what my council tax is being squandered on though.......:rant:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There are some bizarre decisions. Not long ago a bus stop was moved some yards back from the nearby traffic lights, for no apparent reason. It now sits right on a bend. From the other direction there is a right turn filter lane into the road just behind the bus stop, so if you go into the middle of the road to overtake a bus - bearing in mind you can't see what's coming around the bend - you might be pointing head on with a car that's moving across to turn right.

You couldn't make it up... :confused:

AS for the roundabout (I'll try and get a better pic than the one I found) it's all well and good trying to give some of the tarmac back to pedestrians, but sharing the same space? I don't think so.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Totally agree. Too much time and effort spent on making traffic slower instead of making it safer IMHO. Adding confusing road layouts, markings, signs, speed bump, etc. takes away the time drivers spend concentrating on the task of driving :(
Absolutey spot on, my view to the letter. For the life of me I can't understand how anybody can decide that making driving more difficult can make it safer.
 
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the public - well most have an idea of how painful a 2 tonne car could be if they put themselves in the way.

the whole point is to stop said 2 tonne cars travelling faster than the speed limit.

our 30mph road could use some calming measures....

mind you the pedestrians need calming down after the jacket from their back comes swishing off due to the whirlwind left by those speeders,!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
the whole point is to stop said 2 tonne cars travelling faster than the speed limit.
Agreed, but this is in a place where traffic is, well was, either starting away from the lights or stopping at them. Roads are always quite busy there, this was a busy junction across two main roads and it was almost impossible to do 30mph through there in the first place (actually MORE likely now during quieter periods as traffic doesn't have to stop for red lights). The light-controlled crossing points were always the safer option.
 

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I think some of these, and other traffic planning schemes, come about because councils get their hands on a new piece of software and they make pretty pictures in a plan view on a PC screen.

We've recently had roads changed where there were no safety or speeding issues. Roads that were comfortably wide enough for two vehicles either side have been narrowed down to single lanes with useless right hand turn markings barely wider than motorbike. Then further up the road all the bus stops have been extended onto the carriageway so you can't pass when a bus stops. To top it off the bollards appear to be strategically placed near right hand turns such that if more than one car needs to turn right then other cars simply cannot pass. :mad:

My other line of thought on this is that it is creating congestion, so that the sting of a perhaps inevitable congestion charge may be perceived to be worth it!
 

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Traffic calming can be entirely appropriate but, as with anything, not if it's done stupidly. The main issues reported above seem to be around clarity. It has to be crystal clear who should go where, and when they can go there. Sometimes this might mean that pedestrians have the main priority (tough luck on motorists), sometimes not.
 

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Is traffic calming safer than what? :confused:
I think it means "Is traffic calming safer than doing nothing and leaving the road alone?"

Unless I'm wrong. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Anyways I emailed the council with more or less the same letter as the first post, got this reply today:

"Regarding you first point, I assume you are referring to the Lytham Road Southbound approach to the roundabout. There are currently some road markings on the carriageway that indicate that traffic should split in to two lanes. These are programmed to be removed and our contractor has been reminded that this needs rectifying at the earliest opportunity.

In response to your further comments about the design of the roundabout; traditionally crossings on the highway have been either signal controlled crossings (PUFFIN, PELICAN, TOUCAN etc), zebra crossings or uncontrolled (dropped crossings, refuge islands etc). Both zebra crossings and signal controlled crossings provide a perceived "safe" place for pedestrians to cross the road. Many accidents occur at zebra crossings and signal crossings because drivers and pedestrians become very comfortable and complacent in the highway environment. In the past three years there have been 33 accidents on Blackpool's roads that have occurred due the provision of a zebra crossing. The highway is a very dangerous place but especially so when pedestrians do not adequately assess the risk of crossing the road and drivers do not adequately assess the risk of colliding with a pedestrian. Providing safety barriers, kerbs, timed "safe" crossing times, segregated areas for
vehicles and pedestrians and (what are perceived to be) hazard free
roads, make both pedestrians and drivers "switch off" and the potential for serious accidents then becomes much higher.

Blackpool Council is committed to improving highway safety by evoking a sub conscious change in the attitudes of drivers and pedestrians due to significant alterations to the traditional layout of highway schemes. Initially developed by Hans Mondermann in The Netherlands, this type of public realm layout aims to take the public out of their comfort zone by removing the traditional comfortable associations that motorists and pedestrians have with their environment. Safety is achieved due to the increased awareness of risk that sharpens the senses and encourages sensible, cautious movements.

The crossing points on Waterloo Road and Lytham Road are uncontrolled, however engineering measures have been put in place to significantly slow the speed of traffic on all approaches. Vertical deflection in the form of a junction tables provides a physical barrier to high speed and the tight geometry of the roundabout means that traffic is forced to travel more slowly. Coupled with the psychological deterrents (as previously described) we are confident that slower more attentive drivers will allow pedestrians to cross and will be driving slow enough not to collide with a pedestrian who is already crossing. This will also reduce the likelihood of a rear shunt type collision. From early observations both drivers and pedestrians are more courteous and accommodating of each other and traffic speeds are significantly reduced.

Whilst drivers and pedestrians may feel uncomfortable and unsafe when placed in this situation the evidence from previous schemes shows that accidents decrease after the implementation of shared space schemes.

Regards

Blackpool Council


Love the last sentence - the idea is to make both drivers and pedestrians feel uncomfortable and unsafe then? :rolleyes:

As these were signal controlled lights/crossings before I'm not sure where all the waffle about zebra crossings has got to do with anything, although if zebra crossings are deemed by the council to be unsafe I'm wondering why they recently put a second one up outside a local secondary school about half a mile away.

In this country accidents occur on zebra crossings because people just wander out onto them forcing traffic to stop instead of waiting until it's stopped. Elsewhere on the roads people are wandering around as though they're in the middle of a shopping centre, and that's not including the drunk/drugged up ones.

But part of that is due to the poor design of the crossings. I'm sure most of you will agree it's irritating to be waiting at traffic lights for up to two or more minutes waiting for them to change in your favour. Pedestrians have the same problem - they wait so long for them to change that they can't be bothered, and take a chance walking in between traffic instead, to the point where this has now become normal practice.

Somebody mentioned earlier that different things work in different places, and that's the point the council are missing here. I've spent a lot of time in Paris and over there you don't see people wandering almost aimlessly across busy roads like you do here, because the designated crossing points work well. Neither motorists or pedestrians wait more than a few seconds to continue on there way, it's simple and efficient and while motorists might be a bit mental with each other, you don't get the problems with those on foot that you get over here because they just don't wander out into a busy road.

I still can't for the life of me see how this is going to work - slowing traffic might be safer for people of they're hit by a car, but if they think they have a chance to nip out in front of a slow moving car an accident is more likely to happen in the first place, albeit at lower speeds. Having to weave around pedestrians who think they're on a crossing so step out in front of you isn't my idea of safety.
 
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