HC Deb 18 June 1934 vol 291 cc10-3
24. Captain Sir WILLIAM BRASS

asked the Home Secretary what instructions have been issued to the Metropolitan Police in connection with the pedestrian crossing-places recently painted on the carriage-ways of a number of London streets to enable constables stationed at the crossings to decide the action to be taken to ensure the safe use of the crossings?


These crossing-places are in the nature of an experiment, and the police are instructed to do all in their power to make the experiment a success by seeing that drivers of vehicles give reasonable time to pedestrians to cross at these places, preventing traffic from encroaching on the marked crossings, advising drivers and pedestrians who are observed to infringe the Regulations, and encouraging pedestrians to use the crossing-places. I will send my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of the detailed instructions which have been issued to the police.


Could special instructions be given to the police not only to hold up traffic but also to hold up pedestrians at these crossings, which is the practice in Paris; and would he consider either sending some of the police to Paris or going himself?


Will the right hon Gentleman consider the desirability of an official statement being made to the public with regard to these crossings, because they are in very great ignorance as to what is required of them and what they are intended to do?


All I can say is that arrangements were made to give the information to the public, and I think that if the public will take the opportunity of reading what is printed there, they will see a great deal of what is desired. In any case, the instructions to the police at the present time are experimental and will be modified as experience shows necessary.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great confusion which exists in people's minds with regard to these crossings, and that neither motorists nor pedestrians understand them?

Captain A. EVANS

Will the right hon. Gentleman request the British Broadcasting Corporation once a day for the next fortnight to issue instructions to the public, so that through that means they will get to know what is required?


I will draw the attention of my hon. Friend the Minister of Transport to that suggestion.

31. Sir W. BRASS

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he has taken before making the regulations relating to foot-passenger crossings in London to ensure that the pedestrians and drivers of vehicles shall know what they are expected, or required, to do when walking or driving in the streets at the places to which the regulations relate; and whether these steps were taken on the advice of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee or in consultation with representative organisations of road users?


Early in April my hon. Friend issued to the Press particulars of proposals for pedestrian crossing places in London. On Friday, 8th June, he sent a notice to the British Broadcasting Corporation and to some 75 newspapers and periodicals announcing the introduction of the experiment on Monday, 11th June, and explaining the duties of both pedestrians and drivers of vehicles under the regulations. The normal procedure was followed regarding publicity and as the regulations embodied the advice of the London Traffic Advisory Committee, no further consultation was necessary.


Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that complete chaos exists and has existed for some time at these crossings in London, and will he not consider having the simple system of Paris where every crossing is in fact a sanctuary, and will he not go with the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary to Paris and see how the system works there?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to go to Paris with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, but I would point out to my hon. Friend that the chaos to which he alludes is not nearly as bad as it was at the beginning, and it always takes a certain amount of time to learn anything.


My hon. and gallant Friend is not quite correct in answering that question. Will he not consider the suggestion which I have made that these crossings all over the country should in fact be sanctuaries, which is a perfectly simple procedure?


Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that crossing the streets in Paris is far more dangerous than it is in London?


No, it is not.