More and more pelican crossings are changing to puffin crossings – this is supposed to be for increased safety but I think the problems with puffin crossings far outweight those of pelican.
The difference between the two is that pelican crossing show the red and green men on the opposite side of the road. Puffin crossings show the red and green men on the traffic light post, alongside the pedestrian (e.g. end of Ducie St, by Nero – people are nearly run over every few minutes).
The issue with a pelican crossing is that when the green man flashes to indicate it is about to turn red, you can still cross the road. However, at the same time, the traffic lights flash amber which means cars can also go. It also risks stranding the pedestrian in the middle of the road if they don’t cross quickly enough.
The puffin crossing solution has a sensor that detects how long the pedestrian is taking to cross and adjusts the traffic lights to fit with this.
Sounds like a good idea – except that you can’t actually see the red or green men unless you are stood alongside them, at the correct angle. Add a crowd of people and you don’t have a chance -you’re left to guess what’s happening based on the traffic, rendering the crossing useless.
I don’t understand how anyone thought puffin crossings were safe enough to start replacing pelican crossings. A more obvious solution to me is to introduce a countdown or beeping sound to indicate the time left to cross the road. In Hong Kong for example, a slow beep sounds when the green man is shown which increases in speed as the time to cross reduces.
Yes to pelicans, no to puffins! Not in the actual bird sense of course.