Pedestrian Priority at Side Road Junctions

Making changes to streets to give priority to pedestrians at side junctions is an important way of improving walking routes.  BWA includes in its 50 Ways the action to “Incorporate continuous pavements as part of road improvements, including bus corridor schemes”.  It is good to see that Bristol City Council recognises the value of such measures, and has included continuous footways or raised tables in some of its planned improvement schemes.

However, no single approach has yet been standardised at a national level for making it easier for pedestrians to assert the priority that they are given in the Highway Code when crossing side road junctions.  And the Council has not published detailed guidance on how such improvements should be designed, despite developing such guidance in 2021.  To fill the gap, BWA has suggested the following minimum requirements for two possible approaches.

1. Continuous Footway

This is our preferred approach for low vehicle frequency side roads. A video showing how it works has been made by Bath and NE Somerset Council.

In this approach, the footway continues across the junction at a single level and with no change of surface. Ramps on each side allow vehicles to cross the footway with care. For this we suggest:

  • The ramps should be sufficiently steep to require vehicles to proceed very slowly.
  • Tactile paving should be embedded across the footway surface on both sides of the crossing point, aligning with the building line each side of the crossing, to give adequate warning of the crossing point to the visually impaired. Here, tactiles should be the same colour as the footway surface.
2. Raised Table Crossover

In this approach, the road surface of the minor road is raised to footway level across its width, but there is still a clear distinction between the road surface and the footway on each side. For this we suggest:

  • The road surface of the raised table should appear significantly different (for example in colour) from that of both the road leading up to it and the footway surface.
  • Buff-coloured tactile paving should be embedded in the footway surface on both sides at the points where it meets the raised table surface (where there might otherwise be a dropped kerb).
  • Advanced ‘Give Way’ markings should be used on the minor road surface at the start of the raised table to indicate to vehicles that they should give way to pedestrians.

A third approach, which we would also prefer, would be to use ‘zebra’ markings to indicate pedestrian priority across the exit of a minor road, but without the Belisha beacons and zigzag markings of a full zebra crossing. This approach is common abroad though not formally adopted in the UK.

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