Ludgate Hill Pedestrian Crossing

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1 Ludgate Hill Pedestrian Crossing Department of Planning and Transportation delivering sustainable streets 1

2 In response to public concerns, the City of London s Officers have recently assessed the operation of the zebra crossing facility on Ludgate Hill. The results of the assessment concluded that the zebra crossing facility should be retained. This leaflet explains why. Background In July 2007 Members of the City of London s Streets & Walkways Sub-Committee approved a report with Officer recommendations for the existing zebra crossing on Ludgate Hill to be retained. Since that report, a number of complaints have been received in relation to the zebra crossing at Ludgate Hill. In particular, it was suggested that an alternative signalised pedestrian crossing may have less impact upon vehicle journey times along Ludgate Hill / St. Paul s Churchyard. In consideration of the complaints and given the recent developments taking place in this area, Members requested that a report be produced investigating this issue. Investigations The City of London commissioned an independent review of the crossing facility, and to provide guidance upon whether a signalised crossing would be more appropriate at this location. 2

3 Pedestrian and Traffic Counts Traffic and pedestrian counts were undertaken in order to ascertain who uses the crossing and and therefore is affected by its operation. For comparison purposes, traffic counts were converted into person movements on the basis of the occupancy of each vehicle counted. On that basis, the following results were derived: 58% 6% 30% Car Drivers and Passengers Goods Vehicles Bus Passengers Taxi Passengers Motorcyclists Cyclists Pedestrians 1% This clearly demonstrates that pedestrians comprise 58% of all users of the crossing. Therefore, it is vital that pedestrians are adequately catered for by this facility. Pedestrian and Traffic Modelling Industry standard modelling software was used to determine the possible impacts of a signalised crossing facility at this location. Currently, pedestrians do not need to wait for long at the zebra crossing as they have priority. However, the pedestrian modelling clearly demonstrates that a signalised crossing would severely impact upon pedestrian movement. A signalised crossing would cause pedestrian queuing on the footways adjacent to the crossing to build up to intolerable levels. Queuing predictions indicate that waiting pedestrians on the southern footway would block the footway completely. The traffic modelling suggested that vehicle drivers would experience less queuing at the crossing. However, the traffic model calculated traffic flows on the basis that traffic would arrive and depart from the crossing in a steady stream. In reality, traffic flows around the Ludgate Hill crossing are anything but steady. 3

4 On-site observations revealed that traffic flows at the crossing are affected by factors such as: Vehicles entering/exiting side streets, like Ave Maria Lane; Tourist coach activities east of Ave Maria Lane; Bus, Taxi and Service Vehicle activity on all approaches to the crossing; and Queuing / slow moving traffic from extending back from the Ludgate Circus and New Change/St. Paul s Churchyard junctions. So, whilst the traffic modelling suggested that a signalised crossing at this location would theoretically reduce traffic delays, the reality is that a signalised crossing could not operate at full efficiency owing to the irregular pattern of vehicle arrivals at the crossing and so would offer limited improvement in terms of reduced traffic delays. The Wider Picture In addition to traffic counts and modelling, the study team monitored traffic movements along the entire length of Ludgate Hill and St Paul s Churchyard. It was noted that there are consistently low traffic speeds on the approaches to the junctions at either end of this route (Ludgate Circus and New Change), with queuing prevalent throughout much of the day. Of particular significance is the interaction between the Ludgate Hill pedestrian crossing and the New Change / Ludgate Circus junctions. It was observed that on those occasions where vehicles did not need to stop at the Ludgate Hill crossing, all that happened was that they were able to join the queue at Ludgate Circus or New Change more quickly. The speed at which the vehicle travelled the entire length of Ludgate Hill / St Paul s Churchyard was observed to be entirely determined by traffic conditions at the Ludgate Circus / New Change junctions, not by the Ludgate Hill crossing. Regardless of the form of crossing used at Ludgate Hill, ultimately the time taken to travel between Ludgate Circus and New Change is dictated by the traffic conditions at these junctions themselves. Therefore, the form of crossing at Ludgate Hill will have no material impact upon the overall journey time along the street. 4

5 Summary The City of London commissioned an independent review of the operation of the pedestrian crossing at Ludgate Hill. The potential impacts of replacing the zebra crossing with a signalised crossing were assessed. The analysis concluded that: A signalised crossing would severely impact upon pedestrian movement in this location, with pedestrian queues growing to numbers sufficient to completely block the footways; Traffic conditions at the crossing would experience minimal improvement as traffic flows at this location are so irregular that a signalised crossing could not operate at full efficiency; and The total time taken to travel along Ludgate Hill and St Paul s Churchyard is determined by traffic conditions at the Ludgate Circus and New Change junctions, not by the junctions and crossings that lie between. The form of crossing at Ludgate Hill would have no impact upon this overall journey time. On balance, therefore, it was concluded by the Members of the Streets and Walkways Sub- Committee that a zebra crossing is the most appropriate form of crossing at this location. 5

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