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Less time to cross the road in Tower Hamlets while impact on pedestrians remains a mystery

PUBLISHED: 17:12 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:13 17 January 2014

Pedestrian crossing at Cambridge Heath Road, Whitechapel.

Pedestrian crossing at Cambridge Heath Road, Whitechapel.

Archant

More than 500 pedestrian crossings in London have seen the amount of “green man” time to cross roads reduced, alarming a city watchdog and politicians.

Data from Transport for London reveals Tower Hamlets crossing times have been cut at 19 sites, amid a shortening at 568 intersections London-wide.

This is while the number of pedestrians killed or injured, jumped by 23 per cent, from 2011 to 2012, with a 21 per cent rise in Tower Hamlets.

However, when the London Assembly requested more recent data, TfL was unable to provide figures for 2013.

Valerie Shawcross, chair of the Transport Committee at the London Assembly is backing a motion to trial extended crossing times.

She said “The impression we get is that TfL are in denial about pedestrian safety.”

She also said High Street and Osborn Street in Whitechapel had a high number of pedestrian collisions.

Campaigners warned of the impact that cuts to crossing times will have on the elderly and people with disabilities.

Lianna Etkind, campaigns coordinator at charity, Transport for All, said the national standard of 1.2 meters does not factor in the aging population and has not been updated since 1950.

She said: “Older and disabled people shouldn’t have to scurry and rush fearfully if we want to get out and about.”

Lilli Matson, head of delivery planning for surface transport at TfL, said there was a decrease in pedestrian deaths over the last eight years, and that TfL will be working on a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan to be published later this year.

A Tower Hamlets council spokesman said TfL set the standards in London.

He said: “While the council has not been involved in these changes, we take pedestrian safety very seriously.

“We have introduced a programme of targeted road safety education and awareness initiatives and traffic calming schemes.”

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