There is a major pedestrian crossing point opposite Suffolk College on the waterfront in Ipswich which has recently become very slow so I spent 15 minutes taking some measurements on what turned out to be a busy open day. I observed the waiting time after each the request was made, the time allowed for people to cross and then the delay until next request (all times in seconds).
- 80, 17, 1
- 80, 22, 60
- 84, 18, 88
- 76, 14
The average wait time was 80 seconds, the average crossing time was 18 second meaning that in a busy pedestrian town centre/tourist location pedestrians are getting only 18% of the time available. Curiously, I have previously established that pedestrians get only 18% of the road width outside a local primary school once cars have dominated both the carriageway and half of the pavement. Is this a example of the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) which proposes that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes?
Here is the crossing – click on it to go to Google Streetview. Notice that the Google Streetview car caught someone waiting and a bunch more people arriving. And on a similar note… a reader of this blog has just commented that there is also a car stopped with its hazard lights just beyond the zigzags on the right blocking the cycle lane and forcing a cyclist behind them into oncoming traffic.
A work colleague tells me that the crossing by his house in a busy town-centre location is also very slow. By contrast, when I used a pedestrian crossing in a less pedestrian-busy location yesterday I noticed that it responded very quickly; I tested the crossing a few times and each time I was free to cross within 9 seconds (compared to 80 seconds at the college)!
I am thinking that it might be interesting to do a more systematic survey of the response times of crossing across the town. Possibly council should publish this information systematically as a matter of course.
I reported this on FixMyStreet on the day I made this post however I still haven’t had any response or acknowledgment of my report from the council after more than 5 weeks which I think is very poor.
The council appears to be responding to FixMyStreet reports now and has also cut the delay on this crossing by about half it seems (it is a little hard to determine because the timing is now quite variable, but has been as short as 20 seconds which is great).