LETTER: Misleading views of new crossing

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In response to your article ‘New pedestrian crossing in Horsham a disappointing safety hazard’ published on Wednesday, October 7.

A number of points were raised about Albion Way which were misleading and inaccurate. I would like to clear these up.

By way of a brief background, the crossing formed part of a proposal by a developer to Horsham District Council.

Two options were included for HDC to consider. West Sussex County Council was consulted on the options as the highways authority and a response was made to HDC.

The final scheme that was adopted was approved by HDC planners, and WSCC helped deliver the scheme.

1. No visible green man ahead of the pedestrians.

The new junction is a puffin crossing, so the green and red men are found on the push button at eye level.

The green man appears when it is safe to start to cross.

Detectors on the crossing then ensure the traffic is held at red until pedestrians have reached the opposite side.

Additional green and red man display units have been installed higher on the pole, in case a pedestrian’s view of the push button is blocked.

There are already 15 of these style crossings in the Horsham area and we have not had any issues about these.

2. No audible warning.

It would be dangerous to add an audible warning to the crossing because of the other crossings nearby. You would be able to hear it at other crossings. There is a risk it may confuse someone into crossing when it is not safe to do so.

3. Excessive waiting.

The junction is currently not running its designed MOVA system. This is because the vehicle detection was only completed last week.

We are optimising the timings this week.

4. Longer to cross.

The change to a straight across crossing requires a longer red light to traffic. This gives pedestrians enough time to complete their crossing.

The downside to this is that it causes traffic queues on the approaches. Therefore we need to run longer green times to clear these queues.

This means that if a pedestrian just misses a chance to cross they may need to wait longer.

The only alternative is to shorten the green times to traffic. The knock-on effect of this would cause vehicle congestion and potentially block the exit from other junctions in Albion Way.

During the optimising process, engineers will adjust the timings. This will strike a balance between traffic congestion and waiting times for pedestrians.

JOHN O’BRIEN

(Con, East Grinstead South) West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, County Hall, Chichester

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