Pedestrian crossings

The council installs pedestrian crossings of various types on key routes to encourage people to walk and to improve safety.

Puffin crossings (Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent Crossing)

Puffin crossings look very similar to pelicans. Puffin crossings are an updated version of a pelican crossing. One of the main differences is that the red and green man signals are just above the WAIT box and not on the other side of the road.

Pedestrians should press the button on the box. Puffin crossings have special sensors built in which can detect a pedestrian waiting and make sure that traffic remains stopped until all the pedestrians have crossed the road. Puffins do not have a flashing green man for pedestrians or a flashing amber light for drivers.

Pelican (Pedestrian Light Controlled Crossing)

Pelican crossings are controlled by the pedestrian pressing the button on the WAIT box. Pedestrians should only cross when the green man lights up and all the traffic has stopped.

Sometimes there is a bleeper to help blind or partially sighted people know when it is safe to cross. Alternatively there may be a rotating knob underneath the WAIT box, which turns when the green man lights up.

Pedestrians should not start to cross if the green man is flashing.

Zebra Crossing

This crossing has black and white stripes (like a zebra) with orange flashing beacons at each end. A zebra crossing gives the pedestrian right of way once their foot is on the crossing. However, pedestrians must make sure that all the traffic has stopped before crossing and they should keep looking and listening as they cross.

Toucan crossings (Two-Can Cross)

These crossings are provided for pedestrians and cyclists, usually at sites where cycle routes cross busy roads. They are similar to a puffin with the crossing operated by a push button on the WAIT box.

On a toucan there is a green and red cycle signal as well as the more familiar red and green man. The main advantage for cyclists is that they do not have to dismount to cross.

Toucans also have sensors to detect pedestrians using the crossing. There is no flashing green man signal and drivers must wait for a green light.

Pedestrian refuges

In some locations, where a pedestrian crossing cannot be justified, a pedestrian refuge (traffic island) may be placed. These narrow the road and allow pedestrians to cross in two halves with a safe place to wait in the middle. Pedestrians should cross with care as drivers have priority at traffic islands.

Requesting a new pedestrian crossing

A pedestrian crossing cannot always be provided in the location requested. Following a request, each site is surveyed and the results compared with national criteria to judge whether the location is appropriate.

The main factors measured are the number of people crossing and the amount of traffic. Other factors include the number of injuries on the road near the site, sight lines for approaching traffic, parking demand and local features such as hospitals, schools and shops.  

Once the site is approved funding will be sought for implementation.

Contact us:

Public Realm
Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 1BY

Tel: 020 7364 5004
Fax: 020 7364 3121
Email: generalenquiries@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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