Panda Crossing Launched

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Panda Crossing Launched

Waterloo, London The 2nd of April 1962 AD

We are all familiar with the low-tech zebra crossing , which has been around since 1951. The pelican crossing introduced in 1969 is still with us; likewise the more technically advanced puffin crossing first installed in the 1990s. But the panda crossing like its animal namesake was not the best thought through creation, and was doomed to the same fate that the cuddly black-and-white bear appears determined to suffer: indeed using the crossing could have brought forward its seemingly inevitable extinction.
Guildford and Lincoln had many crossings converted to the panda, but the first was outside Waterloo Station in London, opened with some ceremony by then Minister of Transport John Marples. He was not knocked down, but then he had a team of researchers able to figure out the system for him, and unlike many other examples of the road safety device it actually functioned. Drivers then as now were not famed for their patience, and the warning period before they were supposed to move off was, like tardy pedestrians on the road, too tempting. The system was dropped in 1967.

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