Monday, 9 November 2015

Riverside Rat-Running Reduced

[Any of the images can be clicked to enlarge.]

A Toucan Crossing has been installed at the far end of Ness Bridge in Inverness. It links and aligns with Huntly Street and Ness Walk to provide pedestrians with a straight route along the riverside. The junction has been painted with a yellow box. There are dropped kerbs all around the junction apart from, puzzlingly, one kerb on Young Street.

The main traffic is in four lanes between the Ness Bridge (city centre side) and Young Street (leading to the main road to Fort William). The side roads (Ness Walk and Huntly Street) are both one-way (away from the camera). When this (first) phase has a green light any traffic from Huntly Street is stopped but there may be some traffic turning into Ness Walk from either direction. So this is a safe time to cross Huntly Street although there is no signal for pedestrians.

On the second phase, the main traffic is stopped allowing traffic from Huntly Street to cross to Ness Walk or turn right into Young Street. Turning left from Huntly Street onto Ness Bridge is explicitly prohibited. This was done on purpose to deter rat-running along Huntly Street into the city centre.Also in this phase, pedestrians can cross all 4 lanes of the Toucan Crossing.

When the Green Man appears on the Toucan Crossing the audible signal can be heard by any pedestrian heading towards Young Street. This can give the false impression that it is safe to cross Huntly Street (and possibly Ness Walk) when actually traffic from Huntly Street has been given a Green Light.

Pedestrians (particularly visitors) using the Toucan Crossing may wrongly assume that a Green Man means that ALL traffic has been stopped and that it is safe to cross diagonally by the yellow box. As a result they may unwittingly put themselves in front of cars from Huntly Street.

Even if they keep within the crossing they might need to watch for traffic illegally turning left onto Ness Bridge.

Up to this point I haven't mentioned cyclists although it is a Toucan Crossing. As is often the case the Highland Council have left it for cyclists to determine their own routes and negotiate with other road users. Many cyclists will stay on the road. I understood that the original intention was to provide a small lane to allow cyclists to turn left from Huntly Street. There is no signage to indicate this. In practice, I suppose this could be the route I've indicated across the blister paving but that would be so wrong.

There is an exception that allows contra-flow cycling along the full length of Huntly Street. How this is intended to work at this junction remains a mystery. It is clearly legal to cycle across the Toucan Crossing except that the pavement at each end has not been designated for cycling (or shared use). Again, it might be legal to cycle across the corner - but not advisable. The Toucan Crossing will encourage (illegal) pavement cycling. This photo also shows that it's not uncommon for drivers to stop their vehicle on the crossing and/or the yellow box.

The goal of reducing rat-running along Huntly Street seems to be a success. However this depends on drivers being responsible and the law being enforced on drivers who don't comply.

Drivers on Young Street need to take care that there will be enough space beyond the Toucan Crossing so that their vehicle will not end up blocking the crossing and/or the yellow box.

Pedestrians can cross Young Street with the help of a central refuge. It's odd that there is a dropped kerb on one pavement but not the opposite one. There are no pedestrian signals here.

Crossing Ness Walk, particularly from Ness Bridge, can be difficult. There is always the potential for traffic to enter Ness Walk from any of three different direction at different times.

There is a safe phase to cross Huntly Street but there is potential for confusion.

The inclusion of a phase that allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the junction in all directions, including diagonally, might be safer. Or expressing it in a different way, extend the Toucan phase to the whole juction and give Huntly Street a phase of its own.

Your comments are welcome.


Mick Heath said...

Two policy changes that would make crossings safer for cyclists and pedestrians are:

1. A UK equivalent of Europe"s "turn right on red" policy for bikes. This would be "turn left on red" for UK.

2. In Europe, cars turning right on a green light - must look out for, and give way to, cyclists and pedestrians crossing the main carriageway. This is a significant culture shift - but clearly achievable as the evidence shows.

Ricky said...

As a motorist (and keen cyclist), although I would no longer use Huntly St as a rat-run since the introduction of the no left turn over Ness Bridge, as a regular visitor to Huntley Street, I find this restriction incredibly annoying, and simply ignore it and break the law, watching out for pedestrians, which I am sure will be the general practice, if people can get away with it.

Treks Himalaya trekking company said...

Treks Himalaya is indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative company takes you that further way to guarantee you has a memorable trip that you have been dream of your choice. We have your choose of Trekking in Nepal for 3 days or 30 or more days it depending of your timetable. We continually our respect to your Nepal Trekking. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable outing with a family or an exciting nature. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements of Trek in Nepal. We are attempt to encourage to Hiking in Nepal exterior motivated to safe and matured tradition as well as conserve the ambiance for generation. We are specialize in organize Nepal travel activities excursion such as:- Trekking, Helicopter Tour, Peak Climbing, Mountain Flight, Honeymoon Tour, Sightseeing, Rafting, Jungle Safari, Pilgrim’s Tour, Hotel Reservation, Air Ticket, Tibet and Bhutan Tour many more. Typical trekking and hiking as unique combination of natural glory, spectacular trekking trips to hard climbing and trekking most rewarding cultural beautification array to walking, trekking width height of country. We have following areas for your trip.
Annapurna Panorama Trekking , Annapurna Panorama Trek , Annapurna Base Camp Trek , Annapurna Base Camp Trekking , Annapurna Sanctuary Trek , Ghorepani Trekking , Helicopter Tour in Nepal , Nepal Helicopter Tour , Manaslu Trekking , Mardi Himal Trekking , Annapurna Trekking , Everest Trekking , Langtang Trekking