Crossing the Road
8. Are there crossings at logical places?
- Have a look at where people may need to cross the road (eg. opposite schools, major intersections, shops, train stations, bus stops or tram stops).
- Are there school crossings or pedestrian crossings, traffic lights or flashing lights to help people cross the road safely in these places?
- Is it safe for older people, people using wheelchairs or pushing prams to cross the road in these areas?
There are a range of solutions that can be used to make it safer for people to cross the road:
- New intersection traffic lights (very expensive – more than $500,000 - and would require a high level of demand)
- A roundabout with zebra crossings (again, expensive - $200,000-300,000, and would only be done for a high level of demand)
- Traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossings ($200,000-400,000)
- Where there is a roundabout, install zebra crossings on all four corners (would cost up to $100,000, and would require fairly high demand)
- Painting a bright yellow path across the road to remind drivers that there is a crossing. This is called a Walksafe treatment and costs around $20,000 per intersection (or $5000 per crossing)
- Reducing traffic speed down to 40kph (would need to be assessed by VicRoads)
- Where pedestrian lights or traffic signals already exist, it can be possible to reduce the waiting time for people walking. This can be done in-house by VicRoads at little or no cost for newer traffic lights but may be more complex for older ones.
9. Are there the right sort of crossings for the size of the road, and the amount of traffic?
- If there is a school crossing or pedestrian crossing, traffic lights or flashing lights, do you think it works well?
Because of their cost and the fact that most people don’t like them it is now unusual to recommend over- or under-passes. Major roads now tend to have signalled crossings with traffic lights. On smaller roads (with peak hour flows of less than 500 vehicles per hour) zebra crossings are often sufficient.
On stretches of road where people cross at various places (such as retail strips), central medians can be installed. These can be islands or just painted “refuges”, especially where there are tram lines and the traffic is usually slow. Median islands are also useful at intersections to allow people to cross to the centre of the road and then wait for a safe crossing to the far side of the road. Medians also slow the speed of traffic, especially when making turns.
10. Do the traffic signals allow enough time for you to cross in safety?
- When you press the button to wait for the ‘green man’, how long does it take?
- Does the ‘green man’ stay on long enough for people to walk across the road?
- Is it long enough for older people, people in wheelchairs or pushing prams to cross the road without rushing?
- Are there people getting stuck in the middle of wide roads?
Road crossings for people on foot are found at all traffic lights – but they can sometimes be slow to respond when you press the call button, and change quickly before you’ve finished crossing.
The time you wait is preset by VicRoads. If the wait is greater than about 60 seconds it should be reduced. VicRoads will need to approve this, but the change can be made at little or no cost.
On wide roads, it can be difficult cross all the lanes in one traffic light cycle. Crossing times are usually 15-20 seconds but can be increased to up to 40 seconds in some places.
It is possible to reprogram traffic lights so that people on foot always get the signal to cross whenever the traffic lights go green, or even get a signal to cross before the traffic lights go green. Reprogramming these controls cost in the order of $2000 per intersection.
11. Is there anything blocking your view of oncoming traffic so you can see whether it's safe to cross the road?
- Are there poles, overhanging tree branches, fences, parked cars or other things blocking the view?
- People crossing the road need to be able to see oncoming cars, but drivers also need to be able to see people who are about to cross the road.
12. Where you cross, is the slope from the footpath to the road safe and comfortable to use?
- Is the slope from the footpath to the road safe for people in wheelchairs or pushing prams?
- Is the slope smooth and not too steep? Moving from the footpath to the road to cross can be tricky – especially if you are in a wheelchair or pushing a pram.
New ramps from the footpath to the road cost about $500-1000 each.
13. Is there a safe place to stop (a pedestrian island) in the middle of big roads?
- Is the pedestrian island wide enough for at least a pram and carer to stand safely away from the traffic? Pedestrian islands are important on roads where many people cross at busy times. These should be wide enough to hold a number of people safely.