I last wrote to the County Times on the 19th June 2015 to bemoan the fact that the promised single phase crossing did not accompany the opening of the new Waitrose and John Lewis stores in Horsham.
It now appears to exist after many months of traffic chaos at the Springfield Road / Albion Way junction, but is it what we expected?
I expected that a single phase crossing would turn out to be what it says, namely a continuous crossing from one side of a road to the other without a central reservation in the middle of the road. As people, who’ve tried to use the crossing, know by now is that it doesn’t appear by any stretch of the imagination to meet anyone’s expectations.
Having tried it a few times, it takes me longer to cross the road than it did with the original two phase crossing as the weighting of the lights appears to be even more in favour of the vehicles than the pedestrians than it was before. As far as I could tell, more people are now doing the chicken run when they spot a convenient gap in the oncoming traffic.
When the lights eventually react to the button being pressed, assuming you can be bothered to wait that long, you set off from the town centre side of Bishopric with a green pedestrian light only to find on many occasions that the pedestrian lights in the central reservation are red. Do you press the button to make them go green or do you just keep going on the basis that you’ve been told that it’s a single phase crossing?
The worst nightmare for the pedestrian is to get trapped in the central reservation with the traffic whizzing past you on both sides but without any protection, especially for people with young children. What’s gone wrong? When the report on the original planning application was put before the Development Control (North) Committee on the 21st January 2014, it was realised that pedestrian connectivity between the new development and the town centre was an issue. Clause 6.24 of that report recognised that, ‘measures to improve pedestrian connectivity across Albion Way in its current form are considered critical to the acceptability of the proposed scheme’.
Clause 6.26 of that same report went even further. ‘It is proposed to alter the existing staggered pedestrian crossing of Albion Way… to form a single phase crossing… the alteration… will give an emphasis to pedestrians of a greater priority…’.
Unfortunately, the brave new world that we were promised doesn’t appear to have materialised. Instead we still in reality have a two phase crossing under a separate guise.
Am I missing the point or has something gone wrong with the original plans? Why do we never seem to get what we expect?
Swindon Road, Horsham
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