The ‘Westminster Chronicle’ reports;
“Safety fears have been raised after it emerged green man times have been cut at pedestrian crossings in west London.
People now have just six seconds while the green man is flashing to start crossing at 568 sets of lights across the capital, following a review by Transport for London (TfL).
They also include 89 crossings in Westminster, 19 in Kensington and Chelsea and 14 in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Members of the London Assembly transport committee highlighted the reduced times on Friday last week after quizzing senior TfL officers about road safety. Sixty-nine pedestrians were killed on the capital’s roads in 2012, up from 58 in 2010, latest figures show.
However, the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured on London’s roads has fallen by eight per cent over the past eight years and early indications suggest the 2013 figure will be down on the previous year.
Valerie Shawcross, who chairs the transport committee, described the increase as a ‘great concern’.
“It reverses more than a decade of improved casualty rates and we would expect TfL to be taking a proactive approach to building an evidence base to explain this worrying trend,” she added.
The committee also heard concerns from campaign group Living Streets that short crossing times were putting some people off walking.
TfL said it revised the timings at 568 of about 6,000 crossings in the capital to bring them in line with national standards set by the Department for Transport, and after its own research, carried out in 2009, suggested it would have no significant impact on safety.
A TfL spokesman said: “We continue to monitor all roads across London to ensure that they remain as safe as possible for all road users and the long-term trend in a reduction of pedestrian KSIs shows that we continue to build on the solid progress made by TfL, London’s boroughs and the police to make our roads safer for all.”
He added that the green man time had in most cases only been reduced by one or two seconds and there was still a significant ‘blackout’ time for people to continue crossing while the lights remained red for drivers.
Last year, the mayor published a new road safety plan to reduce death and injuries on the capital’s roads and is working on a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.
Pedestrian action group Living Streets wants TfL to introduce a 20mph speed limit in central London by 2015, and extend the Congestion Charge zone by 2020 and reduce the number of freight vehicles.”