Swiss Cottage pedestrians are getting a raw deal

Sorry to have upset all these motorcyclists (now even Dutch ones!) and Tory councillors, but I am not against motorcyclists using the bus lanes in principle, nor am I encouraging pensioner pedestrians (or others) to dart across when the lights are against

Sorry to have upset all these motorcyclists (now even Dutch ones!) and Tory councillors, but I am not against motorcyclists using the bus lanes in principle, nor am I encouraging pensioner pedestrians (or others) to dart across when the lights are against them (H&H letters, July 3).

I was merely pointing out that, with the current timings, it can be frustrating to wait alongside stationary cars, so people are tempted to cross. And this, I suggested, would now be more dangerous since motorcyclists can use the bus lanes and may not be seen if coming up on the inside of trucks, vans and those monster cars which locals seem to need.

I further pointed out that the experiment allowing this had not given a conclusive answer to the basic question: if motorcyclists are allowed to use the bus lanes, does this delay the buses significantly and/or decrease the safety of the motorcyclists or other road users, including pedestrians? The report on this experiment was inconclusive.

But I still take issue with Tory councillor Chris Knight: the fact is the main crossing at Swiss Cottage is extremely unsatisfactory and dangerous for pedestrians.


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Traffic-light timings are not adequate: the main crossing of the Finchley Road allows just 15 seconds for pedestrians, after a wait of up to five minutes. At typical walking pace, given the congestion of pedestrians at this major junction, the lights change before you have crossed both traffic lanes. Anyone slower either runs the risk of being mown down by a passing motorcycle or has to wait another five minutes!

And even that only gets you to the central reservation! You then have another long wait while the southbound traffic roars by. I reckon that in the time it takes a pedestrian to cross legitimately, a motorcyclist could be in Golders Green (and an uber-biker like Cllr Knight could be in Aberdeen, for all I know).

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My proposal would be a single crossing over the narrowest section, from the end of Eton Avenue to the northbound pavement on Finchley Road. Admittedly this would mean stopping both north- and southbound traffic, but it would be far safer and less frustrating for pedestrians, motorcyclists and all other road users.

Oh, and some attempt to control traffic speeds through this busy junction would help. Perhaps Cllr Knight would like to get his local colleagues to look into this matter?

David Reed

Eton Avenue, NW3

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