When we talk about means of transport in cities we usually have in mind cars, trams, buses and increasingly also bicycles. Nevertheless the most common way of getting around the city is by foot – every one of us is a pedestrian.
In this episode of our publications we will focus on a rather common topic, namely pedestrian crossings. You may wonder if there’s anything interesting to write about them since they’re so common that we barely even take notice of them. Perhaps that’s the main problem. We’re so familiar with pedestrian crossings that everyone believes to be an expert when it comes to designing them. People who are responsible for planning new crossings pay little attention to how and where they are constructed. Most of them believe that it’s just a matter of painting a zebra across the road and nothing else.
Zebra crossings are becoming the most dangerous places for pedestrians. A significant amount of accidents occur at these spots. As a result many pedestrians are injured or even killed. In Poland there are a couple of factors which influence such disturbing statistics. This is mainly due to poor legislation, which does not provide pedestrians with the right of way, even when they are approaching the edge of the roadway. In Eastern Europe pedestrians have significantly higher rights, because it is assumed that since they are the least protected traffic participants they require greater legal protection.
Bad legislation isn’t the only problem. Another issue is that pedestrian crossings are often poorly designed. It’s not uncommon to encounter crossings which are several meters long - keep in mind that we are talking about regular city streets. This unnecessarily lengthens the time during which pedestrians are on the roadway.
In this part of our publication you’ll learn how pedestrian crossings were invented, how they are planned in countries in which a decrease in the number of accidents involving pedestrians has been observed, whether traffic lights are always the best and only solution and what are the methods of improving pedestrian safety on zebra crossings.
We hope that with the help of this publication we’ll encourage our readers to undertake actions aiming at increasing the number of safe pedestrian crossings in Łódź. Only by working together and by putting social pressure on city authorities will we be able to change the disturbing statistics of accidents on pedestrian crossings in Łódź.
We encourage you to become acquainted with our publication “A different way – pedestrian crossings”, which is available at ISSUU.COM
Publikacja "Przejścia dla pieszych" (kliknij), in this publication you’ll find (in polish):
Examples of well-designed pedestrian crossings (author: Jacek Grunt-Mejer; an expert in traffic psychology, author of www.strefapiesza.blox.pl blog)Principles of designing pedestrian crossing taking into account the needs of the blind and partly-blind (author: Agata Lewkowicz; associated with the FADO social cooperative; investigates infrastructure in terms of its accessibility for the disabled)Legal regulations concerning the location of pedestrian crossings (author: Jarosław Góralczyk, administrative law attorney, member of the “Normalne Miasto – Fenomen” foundation program committee).