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Copenhagen Street zebra crossing to be restored to safe condition

December 14, 2010

The zebra crossing ... before

Local councillors have ordered the restoration of a “central refuge” in the zebra crossing on Copenhagen Street at its junction with Bemerton Street. The crossing serves two primary schools and the Lewis Carrol children’s library.

The zebra crossing was rebuilt during the October half-term to remove the central refuge at a cost of around £3,000. Council officers decided that the original configuration was “unsafe” for use by a new school crossing patrol officer that has been assigned to the location. Councillors were told that “the pedestrian refuge splits the crossing into two” and means that a school crossing patrol officer “would have to cross pedestrians in 2 stages which is very difficult to do safely and effectively.”

... and after

However, school crossing patrol officers only man the zebra for about 2 hours per day. For the rest of the day the wide “straight-across” crossing makes Copenhagen Street far more dangerous. The previous refuge acted as a pinch-point in the street requiring all traffic to slow-down. Until recently, there were 4 other such narrowings along Copenhagen Street (outside Blessed Sacrament Church, at the junctions of Haverstock Street, Delhi Street and at the other zebra crossing at the York Way junction.

Rupert Perry commented “Councillors were disappointed that the inital decision to remove the refuge was taken by traffic engineers without any public consultation … or even notification. They just decided that, because a school crossing officer was much needed, they would change the zebra crossing to suit this. The consequential reduction in overall safety seemed to be forgotten. After the removal of this refuge, traffic speeds have visibly worsened on Copenhagen Street because vehicles can now barrel down the middle of the road. Many cars go southbound, turning right out of Bemerton Street because it’s a cut-through from Caledonian Road … and they now easily cut the corner through the centre of the zebra crossing.”

Paul Convery adds, “I’m a Governor at Copenhagen Primary School; I walk my small son to the school most days and we use this crossing. Like most other parents I’m pleased we have a crossing patrol officer on duty butI don’t accept the argument that safe operation requires removal of the refuge. Without the refuge, this zebra becomes very much more dangerous for everyone using it outside the hours when a patrol officer is on duty.”

A decision to re-instate the central refuge was agreed unanimously by Councillors at the West Area committee on 22nd November. It is likely the work will be done during the half-term week of 21st February.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana Shelley permalink
    December 15, 2010 1:00 pm

    Well done, and well done to those Copenhagen Street residents who led the campaign to reinstate this essential refuge. Now please can we sort out the crossing at the York Way end? This has always been dangerously located, right at the junction, so southbound traffic turns left straight onto it–and any southbound pedestrians who’ve started to cross and can’t see it coming. The whole crossing should be relocated eastwards to reduce this danger. In the meantime, the works done to York Way at this point have not included reinstating the traffic refuge, and should.

  2. February 17, 2011 12:08 pm

    We have now received confirmation that these works are scheduled for the school half-term week … w/c 21st February.

  3. Caroline Russell (Islington Living Streets) permalink
    February 20, 2011 11:02 pm

    Interesting example of traffic engineers theory-led approach not working on the ground. The theory is that it is better for pedestrians to be able to cross in one go, but in practice on a busy road like Copenhagen St, it can be difficult to get the traffic to come to a stop in both directions at once. Another solution is to narrow the road with build outs on each side so that the distance to be crossed is significantly shortened.

  4. Seth Owuadey permalink
    July 9, 2011 2:07 pm

    I notice that, despite the eminently sensible comments made by Diana Shelley back in December 2010, the traffic engineers have gone ahead and placed a crossing on the York Way end of Copenhagen Street without any pedestrian refuge or guide barriers. In addition, the crossing is so close to York Way as to make it very dangerous indeed. The works were only completed last week and I was witness to the actual workers (sensibly) siting the crossing further up Copenhagen Street – only to see them return (obviously against their will) on a Sunday night in the pouring rain to move the crossing to its current position closer to York Way!

    Without any guide barriers, this means that pedestrians – in particular, young children can run Southwards along York Way straight across Copenhagen Street. I have witnessed 3 such near misses in just a week – one involving a young jogger who narrowly missed being hit by a car turning left into Copenhagen from York Way. What ARE these traffic engineers thinking when they design these measures?

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