Pedestrian Crossings

Story: Lisa Harrison & Lisa Swift

Some local people have criticised the new crossings recently installed on Burngreave Road and Spital Hill as part of the Better Buses scheme.

The old pelican crossings, which have the red/green man signal directly across the road from pedestrians, have been replaced with puffin crossings, which have the red/green man signal appearing on the same side of the road as waiting pedestrians.

Several residents have written about their concerns. Their comments are printed here. If you would like to join in the debate, please leave a comment at the comments at the bottom of this page.

“Traffic lights are very dangerous in the Burngreave area. The blind people used to hear a loud signal telling to cross the road, but now we don’t have that, so it makes it dangerous. It is better than having no lights at all, but children can have an accident by not looking by their side. They should put the lights in front of the children and not next to them.” By Zahra Saleh

“I asked some people who live on Catherine Road, they told me that the traffic lights are very dangerous and they spent a long time waiting, and hope to change something.” Amal Ahmed

“I live on Burngreave Road. Near to my house there are four traffic lights. The cars come from four ways. Before the road did not have traffic lights and it was very dangerous and there were lots of accidents. It is better now.” Khadiza Hassan

“I think it was better before than it is now because before the crossing lights were in front of you and now it is at the bottom of the lamp, so you can’t see it well. Sometimes you wait a long time, before it was very quick.” Anab Ali

The Messenger spoke to Howard Saffer of the Council's Traffic Design group, who explained that all new pedestrian crossings are designed as Puffin crossings, as this is the type now recommended by the Department for Transport.

"These crossings have several advantages over the earlier Pelican Crossing:

  • With the pedestrian signal on your right, it is easier to watch other traffic approaching and see that vehicles stop before you cross the road on the green signal. It is also much easier for visually impaired people to see these signals.

  • There are no flashing signals, so that pedestrians are less troubled by drivers wanting to set off quickly

  • After the green pedestrian signal appears, detectors on the crossing check to see whether anyone is still crossing the road, and if necessary, extend the clearance period to make it easier for people who are crossing more slowly

  • If someone crosses the road earlier whilst the pedestrian signal is still red, and nobody else is waiting to cross, the request for the pedestrian signal is cancelled – reducing delays to traffic

Individual puffin crossings that are installed should still include a warning bleeper, such as at the Spital Hill, Spital St crossing. However where several pedestrian crossings are installed at a junction it is not normally possible to provide these sounds. This is because it could be confusing for pedestrians if each crossing is green at different times. However at most sites a tactile rotating cone is positioned underneath the push button, which rotates when the pedestrian signal is green – and this should assist visually impaired people to cross the road."

There is more information about the operation of Puffin crossings on the Department for Transport web site at:

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The content on this page was added to the website by Trainee User on 2008-02-02 10:47:53.
The content of the page was last modified by Lisa Swift on 2008-02-04 14:36:46.

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