Road markings return in King’s Cross after tourist was hit by double-decker bus
Crossing guidance for pedestrians was not repainted when junction was resurfaced in 2014
06 April, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
The road markings for pedestrians that have now been repainted
ROAD safety markings that were removed from a junction in King’s Cross have been repainted after a tourist was fatally hit by a bus.
Sonia Stante, 69, was hit by a double-decker bus while crossing Pentonville Road from King’s Cross Road in July last year.
Her condition deteriorated and she died 11 days later at the Royal London Hospital.
Ms Stante, an Argentinian who was on a three-day trip to the capital while travelling around Europe, had told a paramedic after the crash she had checked the road in the wrong direction.
The Tribune discovered that previous “look left” and “look right” white markings by the staggered and straight pedestrian crossings were not repainted when the roads were resurfaced in November 2014.
Jacqueline Devonish, the assistant coroner for Inner North London, wrote a prevention of future deaths report to Transport for London (TfL) expressing concerns about the junction last year. She said a Metropolitan Police traffic officer reviewed the site after the incident and concluded that, with the location being close to the Eurostar terminal and several hotels nearby, “foreign visitors may not have a full understanding of the junction”.
The officer noted there were no road direction markings and that the two separate junctions, and its separately phased green man lights, made it “confusing for pedestrians”.
Sulley Sulleyman saw the aftermath of the crash from his café, Coffee Uni-N, and he also believes the junction was “confusing”.
The junction where Sonia Stante was killed
“Tourists could get confused. That would make sense if they do not know the way traffic is coming,” the 50-year-old said. “Maybe it needs more signs to make it clearer.”
TfL said in response the crossing was a “common arrangement” used through London and was the most “efficient” layout reducing waiting times for pedestrians and road users.
But since the fatal crash, it had taken the decision to reinstall the road markings and also fitted additional slatted covers over the green men to prevent confusion.
TfL said that following a previous assessment, in line with national guidance, it was determined the markings were not required because they should “only be installed when traffic approaches from an unexpected direction”. In response to concerns about the understanding of the junction by tourists, TfL said: “This type of location, however, is not atypical in London and we design and operate the highway so that it is clear and understandable for all users, regardless of their origins and familiarity of the area.”
There are plans for the gyratory system around King’s Cross, which includes this junction, to be redesigned entirely, with Pentonville Road potentially becoming a two-way street instead of one.
With TfL, Camden and Islington councils are expected to consult on detailed plans this summer.
Islington’s transport chief, Councillor Claudia Webbe, said the junction’s safety would be considered in this re-design.
She added: “I am pleased that TfL, who are responsible for the junction, have acted on the coroner’s advice to improve pedestrian safety at this junction.
“Too often roads have been prioritised for the benefit of traffic rather than keeping pedestrians safe. This must change.
“I am committed to working with the Mayor of London and with Camden to make this area much safer for pedestrians and cyclists by working together to remove the gyratory system. This would create safer routes for cycling and walking, and provide additional opportunities to improve pedestrian safety.”