Monday, 2 November 2009

Boris crosses to the Far East but misses Near South

Like the Olympic games, Boris Johnson needs a physical legacy to remind us all of him once he's gone.

Unfortunately, his plans for a living bridge, a second Blackwall tunnel and a Thames Airport are unlikely to happen soon, if at all.

So with both time and money short, Boris has to take his opportunities where he can.

And here we have the first part of Boris's physical legacy to London, a revolutionary new design of er... pedestrian crossing.

Based on crossings in Tokyo, the new design stops traffic in all directions, allowing shoppers to cross diagonally in an "X" as well as straight ahead.

The £5m junction is able to handle double the number of pedestrians and ease overcrowding at the busy intersection.

It will be officially unveiled at 0945 GMT by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

In homage to its Far Eastern inspiration, the mayor will strike a two-metre high cymbal as Japanese musicians play taiko drums.

A giant X, in the form of 60m (196ft) of red ribbon will then be unfurled by devotees of cult Japanese Manga characters dressed in colourful costumes.

Mr Johnson said the crossing, controlled by traffic lights, was "a triumph for British engineering, Japanese innovation and good old fashioned common sense".

Now the crossing and ceremony sounds great and all, but if Boris really wanted inspiration for this, then he didn't need to travel all the way to the Far East.

In fact just a short journey down to the Near South would have done as well.

-Update- Cllr James Cousins and Dave Cross and The Metro have joined the fight to reclaim Balham's honour


barry rochford said...

Did you say £5m?
That sounds like very expensive red-ribbon to me.
How on earth can it cost that much?
How much was the pre-Boris one in Balham?
Does this include the building of a Suchi House in the middle of the crossing?

AdamB said...

Japanese Manga characters don't work for free you know Barry!

I don't know about Balham costs. It looks like Tfl under Livingstone contributed £100,000 but I don't know if that was the total cost

Chris said...

Desmond Plummer had the Blackwall Tunnel, Ken Livingstone had the Millennium Bridge, and Boris Johnson has a pelican crossing in north London!

AdamB said...

Cllr James Cousins is now also defending Balham's good name

Matthew said...

The other distinctive thing about that corssing in Balham is how long you can wait for the man to go green after pressing the button. It has to hold some kind of record.

Entire lifetimes have passed in my head as I wait to cross from the station over to Barclays. I've plotted novels and found a solution to world peace, all because of that crossing.

I've even seen a guide dog get tired of waiting there and try to fling its owner underneath a turning car.

AdamB said...

Ha ha. I was just thinking along similar lines. If everybody crosses at once, then the gaps between each crossing must be longer, otherwise the whole junction would grind to a halt. Doesn't it just encourage people to jaywalk?

Mark C said...

The crossing at Hampstead Road and Drummond Street in NW1 also has all the lights go red at once so you can cross diagonally. Though the road isn't marked to enourage you, people who live/work in the area do it all the time. Where is our astro boy celebration???

AdamB said...

Wait your turn Mark. Japan first, Camden Town second!

saifu03 said...

The one in Shibuya (that this has been based on) does have longer waits BUT you only wait once, so it IS quicker for walking if the crossing is usually diagonal (it is there from the station). Am sure that it will make things smoother, TfL (on old advice presumably if it was done in Balham) would have researched it and having walked there yesterday, area feel more open too.

PS If you ever have a channce to go to Shibuya, take it!

stuart graham said...

I go to work via Peckham Rye where the lights are synchronised to allow diagonal crossing. Somehow I put it down to pedestrian intelligence to know they can travel this route (although it would take an exceptional guide dog, I guess)
You could forgive all the crap appointments, scandals and fiddles ahd Boris delivered on transport.
But what is his record?
*A cycle outing costing £30,000
* motorbikes in buslanes
* not a single conductor on a single bus
* diagonal zebra crossings at £5 million
* no tram line
* traffic slowing to a halt
Has he achieved anything apart from putitng up fares twice in 18 months?

AdamB said...

Dave Cross has joined the fight.

Anonymous said...

The junction of Dalston Lane and Kingsland Road has had a diagonal crossing on an all green phase for pedestrians for some years. Boris didn't need to go to the far east for inspiration but then east London's not really his patch.

AdamB said...

You're right Hackneyite, there is a diagonal crossing there. It's not an X but it still beats Oxford Street!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Boris bangs his gong, I heard a rumour he came close to missing the gong even though it was the size of a barn door.

prj45 said...

There are several crossings in the square mile that have an all pedestrian phase (two near Moorgate tube), not marked but you can cross diagonally as all the lights are red.

Is this a Boris legacy? I've read Westminster council did this all on it's own.

AdamB said...

Yes it was Westminster Council it would seem, and they didn't credit Balham either. For shame!