§ LORD KILMAINE rose to call attention to the congestion of traffic in the London streets. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I feel I owe the House some apology for introducing this subject of road traffic again after a comparatively brief time. Since the institution of the Traffic Control Board there has undoubtedly been very great improvement in the traffic of London, but I still think there is a very great deal of room for improvement. Going about London in recent months I have tried to discover the cause of congestion and the cause of the frequent and very annoying hold-ups one meets with in different parts of the Metropolis. It seems to me that one cause is the enormous number of huge double-deck omnibuses which run in every part of London, although in the middle of the day and in the evening, apart from the rush hours, these enormous vehicles are practically empty.
§ I have seen omnibuses in the Hay-market at nine o'clock in the evening practically blocking the street from end to end and the average number of passengers in each omnibus was only four or five. I have noticed the same thing in 42 regard to the omnibuses that go round Lords cricket ground. The top decks of the omnibuses are entirely empty in the middle of the day and there are only four or five or possibly six passengers in the lower compartments. This very day coming from Victoria I was held up out?side the station for ten minutes. I saw five of these huge double-decked omnibuses with no one on the top deck and only five or six passengers below. Because of their enormous size and the space that they take up these omnibuses are a serious cause of delay. I quite admit that in the rush hours of the morning and again in the evening, when workers are coming to work or are being taken home after work, a full number of omnibuses is absolutely necessary, but I think that in the hours between ten in the morning and five in the evening, and again between eight and eleven at night, the number of omnibuses on most of the routes might be considerably reduced. When this subject came up for debate some time ago, before the institution of the Traffic Control Board, we were told that things would be greatly improved as soon as the pirate or independent omnibuses had been removed. So far as I can see they have been removed only to make room for the same number of General omnibuses. I know the omnibuses are very useful, but they cause considerable delay.
§ Another thing I have noticed is that when there is a hold-up in some narrow street or at a crossing, it is often found to be due to some railway delivery van or a coal merchant's lorry drawn by a horse. The average pace of traffic in London is, I suppose, about twelve to fifteen miles an hour. The average pace of horse-drawn traffic is about six miles. In these days of petrol, horse traffic in a city like London in the middle of the day seems an anomaly. I read with pleasure that horse-drawn traffic has been prohibited entirely in Oxford Street during certain hours of the day, and I certainly think it is time for it to be prohibited in all the main streets, except in the early morning or during the night. Surely, a railway company can afford to run a motor van for delivering parcels, and a motor lorry with two or three tons of coal would be much better, especially in the summer, than a van drawn by an unfortunate horse.43
§ Then I have noticed a great deal of delay at crossings, especially those which run north to south, and it seems to me that it would be perfectly feasible to construct light road bridges over some of the crossings to enable traffic to pass both over and under. In the City of New York they have an elevated or overhead railway running all through the town, and it should not be difficult to erect a few bridges in London. I presume they would be of interlaced steel so that they would not shut out light or air to any great extent. Any disadvantage which might be caused in that respect would be amply offset by the enormous advantages given to traffic in London. I am no expert on traffic control. I simply regard the matter from the point of view of the man in the street. It is with all diffidence therefore that I venture to make these suggestions.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
My Lords, I cannot agree with what my noble friend has just said. So far from congestion being due to the number of omnibuses in main thoroughfares, I think the trouble at the peak hours is largely due to the number of private cars and empty taxicabs. One has only to go along Piccadilly to see the large number of empty taxicabs going along that thoroughfare, east and west. Private cars are not very useful to the persons using them when they want to go shopping as they have to park them some distance away. I am sure they would not lose much by not being allowed to go through main thoroughfares at certain hours. At those hours they should only be allowed to cross main thoroughfares and not go along them. As regards the other suggestion made by the noble Lord about the provision of bridges over crossing places, this matter has been often discussed in the Press. I think the objection to them would be the necessity for a very long incline which would reduce the area of the level part of the street and would thereby lead to further congestion. My view is that the main thoroughfares ought to be closed at certain hours to the users of private cars who are not so numerous as those who use omnibuses. Certainly one sees no empty omnibuses in these crowded hours.
§ LORD BANBURY OF SOUTHAM
My Lords, If you will allow me I will say a few words upon this subject, because for the last fifty or sixty years I have 44 taken a very great deal of interest in the traffic of London, and not only in the traffic but in the roads and all that is concerned with them. I venture to disagree with the noble Lord who raised this question when he says that one of the reasons for the present congestion is horse traffic. I venture to say that horse traffic has very little to do with it. There is not very much horse traffic in the streets, and after all the owners of the horses pay rates and have just as much right to go into the streets as anybody who has a motor car and thinks that the whole place belongs to him.
One of the reasons of blocks—I might almost say the chief reason—is cross traffic. I will take Piccadilly as an instance. If you will go down Piccadilly you will see that there is always a block either at Hamilton Place or at Berkeley Street where there is cross traffic. There always have been blocks where there is cross traffic, but they are much worse now than they were before, because in the old days a coachman was a man with some little fellow-feeling, and if he saw somebody wishing to turn across he would steady and allow the man to do it. But not the motor driver. He will go on even though he only gains six inches. He might have stopped and let the person through who wished to go that way, but no, he will go on until he gets to the point where he has got to stop. The majority of them have not the slightest idea of the rules of driving or coaching. I have been a member of the Coaching Club ever since 1877, so that I have had some experience in these ways.
That is one of the reasons of congestion. Another reason is that the police stop the traffic too long. A policeman stops the cross traffic, and instead of letting two or three go and then letting two or three more go, he holds it up until there is a long line waiting, and that of itself creates a block. Then again, there are too many of these traffic rights in the roads. Take Grosvenor Place; I come there every day when I come to your Lordships' House. Across Grosvenor Place by Hubbard Place you can always get across and you do not want to be stopped. If drivers of motor vehicles would only use a little forbearance, you would get across there without any stopping. On one occasion only last week I got there, and the red light was showing and therefore we had to stop, but within the next two 45 minutes I could have gone across fifty times. There was nothing coming either way, but the red light was showing and therefore I had to stop.
Those are two of the reasons. The third reason is that there are far too many vehicles in the streets. Everybody now seems to think that he must go about in a motor car instead of walking or going in an omnibus, with the consequence that there is such a lot of traffic that the vehicles impede one another. You cannot help that; it is one of the misfortunes that we have to put up with, and so far as I can see there is nothing to be done except to diminish all these red lights, inculcate a little more knowledge of road work amongst the police and also try to make the drivers of motor vehicles cultivate some of the courtesy which the drivers of horse-drawn vehicles always had.
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
My Lords, I quite agree with what has fallen from the noble Lord who has just spoken with regard to the unnecessary length of time which the police very often take in allowing vehicles to pass. Over and over again, particularly along Piccadilly, they let a long line go instead of breaking it up into short lengths, which would enormously relieve the traffic. Instead of that they get one long line, and then traffic accumulates at the next stop and so makes everything almost impossible. Then they carry it, to the other extreme. I was driving down to the City this morning along a street where there was hardly any traffic at all. We came to a cross street, where were some road repairs going on, so they had put a policeman there. The policeman stood in front of us and he stopped us and held us up for a car which I should think must have been three or four hundred yards away—a solitary car. We waited till that had gone past, and then waited for another one which was three or four hundred yards away in the other direction. By then I was beginning to get rather mad, and I am afraid that I made some strong remarks to him. That is the sort of thing that goes on, and it does cause a great deal of annoyance.
I really rose to call attention to another matter which is the result of the awful congestion of the streets, that is to say, the harm which is being done by the poisonous atmosphere. I do not know how many complaints I have heard this 46 year about the increase of the bad atmosphere, particularly from people who come from abroad. They say that the London streets are becoming perfectly poisonous. So they are. There are all sorts of regulations against cars being allowed to emit visible exhaust fumes, but I have never seen a policeman interfere with a smoking car or heard of one doing it. I came down Park Lane a, few days ago and immediately in front of me were four or five cars, each of them emitting clouds of blue smoke which nearly poisoned us, and nobody said a word. What is the use of having these regulations if nothing is done? I can quite understand that there is a great difficulty for the stationary policeman who is regulating traffic, because he does not realise that a car is smoking until it has gone past him. Then he cannot catch it up, and it is a very difficult thing for him to take the number of a car disappearing in the distance.
But what I want to know is, cannot the Police do something in the way of making use of their mobile men on motor bicycles, or even of their mounted men in some places? Can they not do something to round up the drivers of these smoking cars, to take their numbers and "run them in"? If there were a wholesome amount of prosecution and some healthy fines for the purpose of trying to stop this smoking, which can perfectly well be stopped with a proper amount of care, I am perfectly certain that much good would be done. Smoking is generally caused by over-lubrication or by a bad mixture, and I am certain that a great deal can be done with care to improve it. If something of that sort could be done we should have a much pleasanter and much purer atmosphere in the streets. I also suggest that instead of these ridiculous traps which they have in the parks at the present moment, trying to trap cars going a few miles per hour over the regulation speed, they should trap ears which smoke, should take their numbers and prosecute the drivers. I am sure that they could do a great deal of good by that means. I should very much like to ask the noble Lord in charge of transport whether something cannot be done by way of paying more attention to this question of poisoning the atmosphere.
§ EARL HOWE
My Lords, I hesitate to intervene in a debate in which noble 47 Lords have spoken and I am afraid I have not heard the whole of what they have said, but there are one or two remarks that I have heard since I came into the Chamber about which I should like to make an observation or two. First of all, noble Lords who have so far spoken seem to think that the traffic problem of London is more a question of the West End and what we are to do in the West End, than of all the rest of London. We have heard all about traffic in Piccadilly, but we have not heard much about the traffic in the Mile End Road and Commercial Road East and places like that. The noble Lord, Lord Banbury, for instance, said that horse-drawn traffic was no longer a factor in causing delay and congestion. If he would do us all the pleasure of taking a trip down to the Mile End Road or Commercial Road East he would find a state of affairs existing there very different from what he thinks. Undoubtedly horse-drawn traffic is responsible for a tremendous amount of congestion. From time to time you can find in this area quite half a mile of traffic held up behind one big motor lorry. But then, my Lords, on reflection I remember of course that the noble Lord is a director of a very great railway company, and of course it is well known that they are the worst offenders so far as horse-drawn traffic is concerned.
§ LORD BANBURY OF SOUTHAM
We consulted the interests of our shareholders and carried on in the best way we could and at the cheapest rate.
§ EARL HOWE
I listened with very great respect to the remarks which have just fallen from the noble Earl, Lord Denbigh. Lord Denbigh dealt with a matter which in my submission is of great and growing importance. I do not believe it is realised how much the air in the London streets is poisoned by exhaust fumes. So far nothing very much has been done to deal with this matter. I believe the medical profession have carried out tests, and they have found that there is an appreciable amount—I have heard quite high figures—of carbon monoxide in the blood of policemen who are employed in directing traffic. That will show how serious a factor the poisoning of the atmosphere is really becoming. I believe I am right in saying, though I have never been in New York, that there 48 they have attempted to tackle this matter, and attempted to ventilate their streets through the drains and the sewers. I would like to see something of the sort done here. It might easily become a matter of vital and serious importance, supposing we were involved in war and there were poison gas raids on the capital. There is no doubt that we are suffering very much from this trouble at the present time.
Remarks have been made about the policemen who control the traffic to-day. I cannot help feeling that the police deserve our highest praise, and our best thanks, for the magnificent work they are carrying out. I personally would like to see them do a little more towards encouraging all forms of traffic, horse-drawn, motor-propelled, and bicycles, to keep nearer to the proper side of the road. Other things, of course, cause congestion in the London traffic. One of the most potent forms in the West End is the crawling taxicab. There are certain streets in the West End of London which are completely blocked by these vehicles. They crawl round and have a regular circuit, and if you watch you will see a certain taxicab going round a certain area of small streets. I know of a district where sixty or seventy of the same cabs can be seen going round a circuit between five and eight o'clock in the evening. As they have their cab ranks I cannot help feeling that this is not a reasonable use of the streets, and it causes congestion.
There are other points I would like to allude to, such as the insufficient width of the pavements in certain parts of London, which forces the pedestrian to step out into the street. I do not think we pay half enough attention to the pedestrian, or take enough care of him, and I welcome the experiments in crossing-places and other matters. I hope this matter of the London traffic will be considered not in an atmosphere of prejudice but with a view to discovering what is really best to be done. The suggestion is made in various quarters, from time to time, that we ought to bar the private car from using London streets. I do not think we should restrict the use of any form of traffic until we have made certain that we are using these streets to their full capacity. I do not think that we are doing so to-day. I am of opinion that much more might be done. As I have said, I hope we shall 49 not consider this as a matter of prejudice, but that we shall consider what is best to be done. I am perfectly certain that that will be for the greatest good of the greatest number.
My Lords, I always hesitate to follow the noble Earl, because he generally says everything that has to be said on this subject. I do think, however, that he has rather missed one or two points. Lord Banbury seemed to put half the trouble of our road congestion in one word, "courtesy." If we could only get a little more courtesy on the road between the various road-users we should be able to use our roads to their full capacity. At the present moment the pedestrian does not seem to realise that it is just as discourteous to step in front of a motor car as it is to step in front of another pedestrian. He does not deliberately block the path of another pedestrian. Why then should he do it to a motorist? The same may be said of the motorist. If he would only slow down instead of making the pedestrian jump out of his way it would then be possible for him, instead of having to drive some four feet off the pavement, to drive quite close alongside.
Another point which I think is certainly very material to road congestion is the question of cars pulling up outside shops. They ought only to be allowed to pull up on the near side. The car which crosses the road and pulls up and deposits its occupants on the other side has to stop the traffic, and when it wants to start again the traffic is again stopped. This leads to two blocks, all because the driver cannot be troubled to go round first. That is a question of courtesy again. What is wanted is a return to the old spirit of the road that we used to find twenty-five years ago, when everyone tried to help everyone else. If we could get that spirit back we should get traffic moving at a reasonable speed, and should not spend our time in hearing other people's views.
THE MARQUESS or ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR
My Lords, I cannot help saying one or two words, having been responsible for the administration of affairs in London. I wish to ask the representative of the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement explaining explicitly what the new lines and crossings in London really mean. It 50 seems that everybody has a hazy view as to what really are the privileges and penalties attaching to pedestrians at the present time. I have seen that in Regent Street traffic lights were recently installed, and people are hesitating what to do. There are lights, but there are also policemen on duty. I always thought that one of the advantages of traffic lights was that they released policemen for their ordinary duty of protecting people's property, but in Regent Street there seem to be both policemen and traffic lights. The policemen hardly know what to tell people at these crossings. If the noble Earl will tell us what are the privileges of the motorist, and what are the privileges of the pedestrian, I think he will do a great deal to enlighten the public as to what really is the position. Nobody seems to know what it is. Even the Press, in discussing these things, talk in more than one voice, and if the noble Earl will make a statement it will be of great service to the people of London as a whole.
§ THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, some eighteen months ago we had a very full debate on this subject of the congestion of traffic in London streets, and I then laid down what I thought were the main causes of that congestion. I have really no reason, after the lapse of this time, to depart from those main principles which I then laid down. We have ranged over a vast number of points this afternoon in the course of the debate, and reference has been made by several of your Lordships to the difficulty caused on our streets by the lack of courtesy shown by motor drivers. I entirely agree with a great deal of what has been said on that point; but I must remind your Lordships that you cannot make people more courteous either by legislation or by administrative action. Therefore I have to confine myself perhaps to the other points which have been raised during the course of the debate, and which are also of the very greatest importance in trying to solve the problem of the congestion of traffic in our London streets.
I think I ought shortly to explain what the administrative position is. In 1924 the London Traffic Act was passed, which conferred on the Minister of Transport a considerable number of powers to deal with all matters germane to London 51 traffic. The London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee was set up under that Act, in order to advise the Minister with regard to those powers which were conferred upon him, but I want to make it perfectly clear that that Committee was purely an Advisory Committee, and had no executive power whatsoever. I think everybody who has studied the subject will agree that that Act has proved of very great benefit indeed. It has proved of benefit in arresting the rapid and irregular growth of omnibus traffic in London. It helped by bringing traffic under proper control and by mitigating traffic congestion generally. This London and Home Counties Advisory Committee have advised the Minister upon almost every conceivable aspect, I imagine, of London traffic. I do not wish to enumerate the many subjects upon which they have given advice to the Minister, but I should like shortly to say something with regard to what has been done as the result of the advice which they have given.
To begin with, regulations have been made with regard to a number of matters—such as vehicles reversing in the street, the conveyance of exceptional loads, the use of vehicles for the purpose of advertising, the collection of refuse and taxicabs loitering in certain main thoroughfares. Those have all been dealt with up to a point, and they are all measures that are in the interests of creating an easy flow of traffic in the London area. Then there are many other things that have been done as the result of the advice of this Committee. During recent years important works with regard to road improvement and road building have been carried out in the London area. I would only refer to the Victoria Dock Road, which is now approaching completion, and, although it does not directly affect the centre of London, it is at the same time of very great importance to traffic in the London area generally. There is also the North Circular Road from Ealing on the west, to its junction with the Eastern Avenue near Ilford.
Another important work which is about to be carried out is the improvement at Vauxhall Cross. I understand the London County Council have settled upon a scheme there—a scheme restricted compared with the scheme which was, I believe, originally contemplated in connection with that particular point, but 52 they have settled upon this scheme, and I understand that work is to commence upon it very shortly. Then there have been improvements in traffic workings secured by the institution of one-way working in 107 streets, and there have been ninety-two junctions which have been laid out for round-about work. Furthermore, regulations have been made under the London Traffic Act, as the result of which some 224 special parking places have been appointed.
Another matter which is of importance is the progress that is being made with the introduction of traffic control signals. As a matter of fact my noble friend Lord Banbury this afternoon said he thought we had far too many of these light signals. I should have been rather interested to hear what the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Buckmaster, would have said upon this particular subject, because I remember well that when we last debated the question of London traffic he made a vehement attack on the Minister of Transport for not introducing these automatic light signals more quickly. But I think the general consensus of opinion is that they have done a considerable amount to reduce congestion in London and to create an easy flow of traffic. Although there may be differences of opinion about particular traffic light systems, at the same time I think that, speaking generally, there can be no doubt that they have done something to help.
I should like to say a word about coaches in Central London. As a result of an inquiry over which my noble friend Lord Amulree presided some two years ago, the Minister of Transport announced his decision. The general effect of that decision is that coach operation in the inner area of London has been considerably curtailed, and a great many urban services are now routed around the inner area and avoid turning into the centre of London. As opportunities arise of trying new expedients they are taken. For instance, quite recently the experiment has been tried of waiting in Jermyn Street unilaterally, that is to say, making it permissible for motor cars to wait only on one side of the street. I think the net result of all this administrative action has been, generally speaking, to improve the position. I am quite prepared to admit that the position is by no means satisfactory, but if we recognise the fact 53 that traffic in London has increased enormously in recent years I think we shall all agree that the improvement is one which, although not entirely satisfactory, has shown that the measures which have been taken have been effective. I should like also to take the opportunity of associating myself with what my noble friend Lord Howe said—namely, that much of the improvement is due to the great efficiency and courtesy of the London Police.
Certain matters have been raised today, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Kilmaine, who initiated this debate, for giving me notice of those which he intended to raise, which are no doubt very important. But I should like to make it clear, to begin with, that the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee have, I can assure your Lordships, at one time or another considered all the matters which have been referred to in the course of the debate. One matter of which Lord Kilmaine made a considerable amount was the fact that at certain times there were a number of empty omnibuses upon the streets which did a great deal to congest traffic and to make movement difficult. We must remember that the London Passenger Transport Act has only very recently come into operation, and that measures for the co-ordination or curtailment of redundant services, as far as the London omnibuses are concerned, can only come gradually. But I want to make it quite plain that there has been no increase in the number of omnibuses on the London streets, and that, if anything, there has been a certain reduction already.
But this matter of empty omnibuses is not really so simple as would appear at first sight, because there are a number of matters to be taken into consideration which I think are very often ignored. I agree that to the ordinary person it does seem that there are a considerable number of omnibuses on certain main London streets which can be removed and at the same time leave ample accommodation for the passengers who have to be carried during those hours. There are all sorts of things one has to remember. In the first place there is the point that the peak traffics of London occur at different times in different places. For example, one of the principal causes of difficulty in the City of London is the existence of a mid- 54 day peak in the Whitechapel area to the east. Another point which creates difficulty is the fact that the number of localities in Central London suitable for omnibus turning points is very limited, so that there is no alternative but to allow omnibuses to run through empty. All these various considerations affect in their turn the arrangements of the staff, and it is recognised that a steep grading of services between peak and what are called valley periods would give rise to difficulties in arranging a reasonable rota of duties that cannot be left altogether out of account. I have no doubt that this problem of empty omnibuses at certain times of the day is engaging the attention of the London Transport Board, but I think it would be idle to expect any immediate or drastic action in connection with this particular matter.
We have had references by a number of speakers to horse-drawn and slow-moving traffic. This is a question which we debated at length on the last occasion on which we dealt with this matter in your Lordships' House. I can assure your Lordships once again that the Committee have given constant thought to this particular problem, but in 1929 they came definitely to the conclusion that they were not warranted in advising the Minister to make drastic regulations regarding horse-drawn or slow-moving vehicles by which these vehicles would be prevented from using particular streets all day or at particular times. The Minister agreed with this view, and he has said so on a number of occasions in another place, and I understand the Advisory Committee still adhere to the view they held then. The fact is that not only the railway companies but a number of private traders still use horse-drawn vehicles for the simple reason that they find that form of vehicle the most economical for short journeys.
It is perfectly true that limited restrictions have been imposed in the case of Oxford Street. There is a limitation at certain times of the day on through traffic in Oxford Street, but I should like to point out that if any prohibition of this character was made general it would really have the result of keeping horse-drawn vehicles off the streets. If you were to impose restrictions on horse-drawn vehicles in regard to all the main thoroughfares of London it would really 55 become impossible for them to get from one part of London to the other. I can only conclude by saying that the Minister at present is not prepared to do this and, speaking personally, I am rather doubtful whether horse-drawn vehicles do as much harm as some people would like to attribute to them. At any rate, the number of horse-drawn vehicles upon the streets is decreasing very rapidly. The figures are very striking—I am not going to quote them this evening—but there is no doubt they are decreasing very rapidly, and it is therefore quite clear that this problem is a diminishing one. The Advisory Committee are still watching this particular matter, and they are continuing to make investigations, but, as I said, the Minister at the present time is not prepared to take any drastic action with regard to it.
The noble Lord who opened this debate suggested that we might get over some of our difficulties at traffic junctions by means of over-bridges. This is another matter to which the Advisory Committee have given careful thought. In theory there is no doubt a great deal could be said for over-bridges, but in practice it is found they are almost invariably impracticable. There is this to remember: at a four-way junction there are twelve possible movements of traffic. I think people are inclined to overlook that fact. There are two possible movements between north and south, two between east and west, four right-handed turns, and four left-handed turns. If you want to avoid cutting across through traffic, and it is essential you should avoid doing that if this is going to have any effect whatever, it would be necessary to construct four slip-roads, one at each corner. The round-about systems which have been introduced in various places in London go a considerable way to relieve congestion at cross-roads, and they do so at far less cost than would be entailed in building over-bridges. It is estimated that to construct an over-bridge with four slip-roads, apart from the acquisition of land, would cost nine or ten times more than a roundabout, and for such a scheme, I am told, four acres of land would be required. It is perfectly clear that in Central London such a proposal is quite impracticable. The Advisory Committee have examined all these possibilities, and if they have not been put into operation I can only con- 56 clude that it is because in their considered judgment—and no people have a greater knowledge of the problems of London traffic than the members of that Committee—these proposals are either impracticable or ineffective.
Reference has been made to other subjects this evening. The noble Earl, Lord Denbigh, referred to the evil of the fumes emitted by motor vehicles in the London area. I agree with him up to a point. There are regulations dealing with this subject, but it is extremely difficult to make them effective. As a matter of fact, I do not entirely agree with him, for I myself was in a car, not my own motor car but a taxicab, the driver of which was taken to task for emitting fumes; but at the same time I agree it is difficult for the Police to make these regulations effective. I undertake to bring this matter to the notice of the Minister, and I feel certain he will give it his consideration.
The noble Marquess referred to the question of the new pedestrian ways that have been instituted in London recently. This is not a matter which directly affects the question of congestion of traffic in London, but it has of course an indirect effect upon it. I do not think this is an occasion upon which it would be proper for me to make any authorised statement on the subject—in fact I have not been authorised to do so—but I would like to point out one or two facts to your Lordships in connection with this new system. There is really no reason at all why this new system should fail. It is an experiment of course, but it is an experiment which has been tried in other places—in Paris, for instance—and proved to be of very considerable value. It has not been possible, of course, to operate the system here in quite the same way as it is operated in Paris, for the simple reason that at present these crossing places for pedestrians are very limited in number, and it therefore would be impossible to prevent pedestrians from crossing roads at other places. It would be impossible, because they are so few, to limit pedestrians to the authorised crossing places.
I conclude by saying that if there still exists any doubt or misunderstanding with regard to what procedure should be followed at crossing places, I feel certain that the Minister will consider the advisability and the necessity of 57 issuing a further statement to resolve any doubts that might exist. I feel that it is an experiment with which we must go through, and I am confident myself that, as a result of our experience, we shall find that crossing places of this kind will be of extreme value in lessening the danger to pedestrians upon our London streets. I have dealt with most of the points that have been raised, and I hope that what I have said may have gone some way to satisfy noble Lords on this particular subject.