New hi-tech crossing for Ballycastle

By Wesley Ferris

A NEW hi-tech crossing will improve safety at one of Ballycastle’s busiest streets.

For years there have been concerns about how people suddenly walk out onto the zebra crossing at Ann Street.

Former Moyle councillor Oliver McMullan used to claim pedestrians virtually “jumped out” in front of oncoming vehicles.

But forget about zebra crossing or even a pelican crossing the new facility, which is set to be installed at the start of next year at a cost of £15,000, is called a ‘PUFFIN’ crossing.

The term PUFFIN is an acronym for ‘Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent Crossing’ and is a more efficient type of crossing, which uses modern intelligent technology to assist in improving road safety and provides benefits to pedestrians and drivers alike.

A spokesperson for Roads Service told the Times: “Roads Service is committed to improving the safety and performance of the road network. PUFFIN crossings offer pedestrians a number of benefits:

“* The pedestrian can see the ‘Red’ and ‘Green Man’ display and watch the oncoming traffic at the same time;

“* Those suffering from visual impairment should be able to see the ‘Red’ and ‘Green Man’ signal more easily than if the signal was on the far side of the road;

“* The sensors that detect a pedestrian on the PUFFIN crossing also keep the traffic lights on red making sure you have enough time to cross the road. This will help to reduce the distress pedestrians often feel when completing their crossing during the flashing amber stage on a Pelican crossing, particularly in the case of more elderly or vulnerable road users.”

The spokesperson added: “PUFFIN crossings also offer benefit for drivers:

“* The use of the sensors allows traffic lights to turn green as soon as the crossing is clear.

“* Traffic won’t be stopped should a pedestrian push the button then cross in a gap in the traffic or walk off without crossing at all.”