§ 20. Mr. Shepherd
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he has now been able to assess the value of the flashing crossing light; and what alteration is proposed.
§ 33. Mr. Fienburgh
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what 1709 evidence he has to support the extended provision of blinking beacons at pedestrian crossings in heavily built-up areas.
46. Lieut.-Colonel Upton
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in view of the objections by local authorities and motoring organisations to the use of flashing beacons at zebra crossings, he will now abandon this experiment.
§ Mr. Molson
This method of indicating pedestrian crossings was decided on after thorough trials of various alternatives. There have been no objections from the motoring organisations, and the local authority associations agreed with the flashing beacon. Road users generally seem to find it an effective warning and, as my right hon. Friend has already announced, he proposes to make flashing beacons compulsory as soon as all local authorities have had time to install the mechanism.
§ Mr. Shepherd
Will my hon. Friend take great care, before he makes them compulsory, to consult opinion generally? Many of us feel that these traffic light indicators are very dangerous indeed on dark, badly-lit roads and that on well-lighted roads they add to the confusion of lights.
§ Mr. Fienburgh
Did investigations dealing with this type of light include the use of these flashing beacons where a large number of these pedestrian crossings are close to one another, as in centres of large urban areas, where the confusion is such as to increase the danger to the pedestrian rather than reduce it?
§ Mr. Molson
The purpose of having flashing beacons instead of steady lights was that it was thought that in illuminated streets motorists would find it easier to see the beacons if they were flashing. If the lamps were steady there would be danger of confusing them with illuminations in shop windows.
As regards the second question, in the original circular issued by the Ministry of Transport it was said to be undesirable that where these crossings were close to each other the light should synchronise. We have changed our view about that as a result of experience, and we now think that it will be less confusing to motorists where the crossings are close together 1710 that lights should synchronise. It is my right hon. Friend's intention to alter the circular in that respect.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there is a growing volume of opposition to the continuance of what has proved to be a "blinking flop" rather than anything else? Will he give serious consideration to the increasingly powerful arguments being advanced against the extension of this scheme?
§ Mr. Molson
We are certainly willing to learn by experience. This is an experiment in an attempt to make the crossing of roads safer. There are all kinds of arguments for and against, and if as a result of experience and further discussion something better can be devised, we should be willing to adopt it. We are willing to listen to representations on the subject.
§ Mr. Callaghan
In that case, will the Parliamentary Secretary keep in mind that one way of solving this problem is to have clear illumination of the crossings from overhead?
§ Sir A. Hudson
Would my hon. Friend look at Sloane Square where there are about 20 of these signs, which are very confusing, particularly on wet nights, and also illuminated advertisements, which make the place look exactly like Battersea Park on festival night?