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Pedestrians cross at waiting times

Wednesday, 14th October, 2020 2:36pm

“How are parents meant to get their children in the habit of waiting at the lights when some take more than eight minutes to change?”

These are the words of road safety advocate Neil Fox who is one of many frustrated Leesiders calling for major improvements to the city’s pedestrian crossing system. According to Mr Fox, many of the city’s crossings “leave a lot to be desired” with pedestrians sometimes forced to wait between six and ten minutes for a green man.

“Out of interest, I’ve stopped a few times at a couple of crossings to wait and see how long it would take to turn green, only to get so annoyed after eight, and even ten minutes, that I walk away,” he told the Cork Independent.

Mr Fox said he feels 90 seconds would be an ideal amount of time for a pedestrian to wait for a green man, insisting it should never be more than 120.

He said: “This would lead to much more compliance with the rules of the road. The likelihood of people breaking lights is much reduced when we all know we can rely on them to operate in a timely manner.”

One particular spot at the Thomas Davis/Wellington Bridge near the Mardyke Arena, has been recently identified by a number of people on social media as one of the worst in the city for crossing. A video posted to Twitter on Tuesday shows people waiting for six minutes at the crossing, before the person filming gave up out of frustration.

“The annoying thing is when you want to do the right thing but are left standing like a fool for several minutes while often very little traffic even goes by,” said Mr Fox.

He added: “It seems crazy that in such a beautiful vicinity as the Lee Fields and Mardyke area pedestrians are forced to break rules of the road to simply get across.”

Fellow pedestrian and Chief Product Officer at GoCarma, Emmett Murphy is calling on Cork City Council to prioritise pedestrian road safety over traffic flow.

“The transportation planning hierarchy usually puts pedestrian mobility at the very top, but it feels like Cork too often prioritises the movement of vehicles over the safety of pedestrians,” said Mr Murphy.

He went on to highlight Douglas Village as another challenging area for pedestrians.

“I wish city councillors would try walking around Douglas Village to experience how dangerous it can feel, and to start planning some changes,” said Mr Murphy.

Responding to the video on Twitter, Cork architect and urbanist Karl Shane Dískín wrote: “A prime example of designing for how people *ought to* behave rather than how they *actually* behave, leading to a dysfunctional outcome. These lights reset to pedestrian red when they sense someone has crossed; so, when one person doesn't wait, it resets to red for everyone else.”

Councillor for Cork City South East Deirdre Forde told the Cork Independent that she had been contacted in recent weeks regarding issues with pedestrian crossings in the Douglas area. She said: “As it happens, I did get another correspondence yesterday (Tuesday) saying that there wasn't much improvement.

“I haven't tested it myself, but I will go back to the Council to see if they can tweak it further, because I do think that some people cross the road a little slower than others. Sometimes the lights don't allow for that, and with traffic so heavy in the area, it can be very intimidating. The push now is to allow more priority to pedestrians and cyclists as part of our policy to make the car less important on our roads.”

Cork City Council was contacted for response but none was received at the time of going to print.

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