Restraining pedestrians

Pedestrians dodging traffic
Tottenham Court Road, 1927

In the controversy as to whether pedestrians should be restrained from crossing the streets except at certain specified points, it is well to realise that this is, in fact, to decree that those who are too poor to possess or to use motor vehicles must go round about in order that those who are rich enough to drive may drive faster.

We who have to walk to our business may find our time just as precious as those who can afford to drive. We may be infirm and find the extra distances as severe tax upon our strenght. Since our natural pace, which we cannot exceed, is the slowest, any extension of the distance we have to travel is relatively a much greater hardship to us than a roundabout way is to the motorist. He can whirl round Trafalgar Square in a few seconds; we, with tired limbs, must trudge wearily up a street or down a street to the destination exactly opposite us, from which we are debarred by the maniacal whirl of motor traffic. For, note, the crossing places must be far apart, otherwise the motorist will actually be slowed down by their introduction.

Editor’s note: 1538 children under 12 were killed by motor vehicles in the UK between 1919 and 1921. (Source: Hansard) Nellie’s disabled brother Robert was killed by a van in 1923.