Monday, November 02, 2009
Outraged Balham residents scramble for the truth

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Today, Boris Johnson launched Oxford Street’s new ‘scramble crossing’ by banging a giant gong.

The diagonal pedestrian crossing has been heralded by many of the news outlets as a copy of the famous walkway in Shibuya, Tokyo. The Metro even went as far as naming it, slightly ambiguously, as a ‘first’.

Luckily in almost all the comments under the stories, the general public set things straight by pointing out that Balham, far away from Oxford Street in SW12 (the horror!), forced people to scramble across the road in 2004.

The idea was first raised in a Wandsworth Council meeting in 2002, according to the meeting minutes published today by local councillor James Cousins in his post on the subject.

Best of luck to the ‘triumph for British engineering, Japanese innovation and good old-fashioned common sense’.

I have lived in and around SW12 for a decade and hardly anyone uses the diagonal crossing due to, as far as I can tell, the terror one feels when one gets half-way across.