HL Deb 24 July 1961 vol 233 cc822-3

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware that owing to the new rules for traffic in Pall Mall pedestrians are in considerable danger, owing to the absence of special crossings, and that most of the parking meters are out of action.]


My Lords, the Piccadilly—Pall Mall one-way experiment ended last Friday night. The results, including the effect on pedestrians, are now being assessed.

During the experiment, no additional special crossings were provided for pedestrians in Pall Mall. The police, however, controlled motor and pedestrian traffic at the Pall Mall—Haymarket junction and displayed notices at pedestrian crossing places, indicating the need to look in the direction from which the traffic was approaching. To provide space for bus stops and for the increased volume of traffic using Pall Mall, nineteen meters on the south side were suspended. The thirty-five meters on the north side, however, remained in use.


My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord for his Answer, may I ask him whether it is intended to repeat the experiment, or what is likely to happen in future? If it is repeated, will it be repeated without zebra crossings? And what about parking meters? They cost a lot of money. Is it intended to keep them out of action, too?


My Lords, as my noble friend knows, this was an experiment for a week and, as I said, the results are now being assessed. At the moment, I am not in a position to say whether the experiment will be repeated and, if so, when and under what conditions. There is something which I think my noble friend might wish to know: that during the week before the experiment there were no accidents to pedestrians in Pall Mall, and during the week of the experiment there were no accidents to pedestrians, either.


My Lords, in assessing the difficulty of pedestrians, can the noble Lord say whether, when the inquiry is going on, it is only those who complained to the police that it was quite impossible to cross the road whose observations will be taken into account? I agree that there were notices to "Look Left", but as there was a constant stream of traffic, though one could look at the notices, one could not cross the road.


Certainly, my Lords, all factors affecting pedestrians will be assessed carefully in arriving at the conclusions to be drawn from the experiment. Perhaps the noble Lady would like to know that a great many observations and counts were taken by the police and by members of the London Traffic Management Unit.


My Lords, if the experiment is a success, can the noble Lord say what is to happen to the nineteen parking meters which, I imagine, would be permanently out of use?


My Lords, I could not, because until the results of this experiment have been assessed, there is really nothing more that I can say about what might be the conclusion.