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Demo to save Hackney pedestrian crossing

Transport for All

On Wednesday, February 15th local disabled and...

On Wednesday, February 15th local disabled and older people took action to protect a pedestrian crossing threatened with removal, in an area close to Moorefields Eye Hospital.

Activists from local disability organisation, Hackney Disability Back up together with Living Streets and two donkeys from the local city farm joined forces in a lively and well received protest.

Curtain Lane is a two lane one-way street and it is the speed of traffic hurtling down Curtain Road (and taking advantage of those gaps to accelerate to top speed) that represent the real risk to vulnerable pedestrians (and to cyclists wanting to traverse Rivington Street).

Tfl’s assessment of their pedestrian crossing removal programme shows that the ‘only’ people affected by their pedestrian crossings removal will be women with children and prams, disabled people including wheelchair users and visually impaired people, and people over 60 years who need the security of the crossings: ie a substantial part of the population.

The crossing removal at Curtain Road is part of a dangerous programme of crossings removal across London: see The Mayor claims crossings removal will ‘smooth traffic flow’ How many crashes and road accidents must happen before this stops?

John, a disabled Hackney resident, said: “For many years my office was just a few yards away from the pedestrian crossing in Curtain Road. Rivington Street is the most direct route from the bus stop in Shoreditch to Moorfields Eye Hospital, and I saw many visually impaired people, in particular white cane users, using that route. TfL argue that pedestrian crossings such as this should be removed, on the basis that not enough people use them. I think that’s rubbish: disabled people are always going to be in a minority but that is not a valid argument for ignoring our needs“.

Brenda Puech, Hackney Living Streets coordinator says ‘In this time of austerity it seems like madness to be spending tax payer’s money on removing pedestrian crossings put in to keep children, older and disabled people safe at an estimated cost of £80,000 each —not to mention that it will cost at least this much to install a new crossing again when it has become obvious what a mistake the removal was in the first place’.

If the signalised pedestrian crossing is kept and co-ordinated and synchronised with the signalised junction before it, there will be no delay in motor traffic and no loss of facility for motorists. The cost of removing the crossing is also an unnecessary item of expenditure, at a time when funds are being cut from other areas.

During the consultation process eleven groups opposed the removal out of a total of 13. One group, TfL claim, did not express an opinion! The only letter of support TfL claim they received for the removal was from Jennette Arnold, the local Labour Assembly Member.

They claim she supported the removal – although on clearer inspection it appears she said that she only supported its removal IF they replaced it with a zebra crossing – and that is what other groups said as well! It is grossly dishonest of TfL to claim that is support for the pedestrian crossing removal.

A man standing in front of a painted brick wall smiling at the camera. He is holding a cane and is wearing glasses, a black jacket and a grey t-shirt. A man standing in front of a painted brick wall smiling at the camera. He is holding a cane and is wearing glasses, a black jacket and a grey t-shirt.

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