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JAYWALKER'S TOOLKIT
MAY 2005, BANBURY ROAD, SUMMERTOWN, OXFORD, ENGLAND

DESCRIPTION

A PORTABLE BELISHA CROSSING


MATERIALS

PLASTIC OVERFLOW PIPES, WHITE DUCT TAPE, BALLOONS


BUDGET

£12


CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

1 DAY PREP, 1 HOUR SETUP


SUMMARY

When I previously masqueraded as a lollipop man and helped people cross the busy Banbury Road during the opening of Summertown's Artweeks (a county-wide arts festival), I was blamed for tailbacks going all the way into the city centre more than a mile to the south.

You wouldn't have thought that a zealous lollipop man could gridlock a city. But that's what the two heavies from the bus company told me, and asked me to stop as it was buggering up their schedule.

Of course, my counter-claim was that traffic, including their buses, was buggering up the schedules of the people on foot, who cant cross the street.

Their response was to point to both of the pelican crossings, barely visible from the point where I was doing my business, and suggested pedestrians can go to either crossing.

Of course, this could make crossing the street take over 7 minutes, especially if you're a bit slow-footed.

Anyhow, rather than open myself up to abuse from the bus company, who get a bit hot under the collar when pedestrians slow down their money intake, I thought I'd give the traffic-stopping tools directly to the jaywalkers.

A short length of black plastic pipe with white stripes, a yellow 'Artweeks' balloon, and two white lines of tape across the road just about make a jaywalker convincing enough and empowered enough to cross the street safely.

We needed people on either side of the street to advise (and read a disclaimer) and to regulate the amount of mini-portable-belishas, so they didn't all bunch up on one side of the street.

Although there's always the risk someone might get hurt while using such a 'toolkit', I see people running across this street everyday, and on more than one occasion I've seen an elderly person fall over in their rush to get to the other side.

Olivia Dawson, a collaborator on the Cyclemas Tree project, was on hand to help advise and regulate Jaywalker's Toolkit. Unfortunately, she became so comfortable with the authority of the crossing that she ran right in front of a bus, which luckily was going quite slowly. It would have been a great shame to have an accomplice sent to hospital in service of a road safety stunt.

To this day, there is no belisha crossing along the entire length of this section of the road. Seems pedestrians are expected to go way out of their way, and then apply for permission to cross the street at a pelican crossing. Crossing the street is a human right...you shouldn't have to ask for permission from motorists. If anything, it seems to me the motorists should apply permission to the pedestrian flow in order to violate it and endanger lives. Oh well, here he goes again...

It was very satisfying to see that the white tape remained on the street for many weeks, and that jaywalkers seemed to unconciously gravitate toward it when choosing their crossing point. What's more, cars seemed to be a tiny bit more generous to jaywalkers when they used the phantom crossing, but that could just be my wishful thinking.

THESE THINGS COST 1/1000 THE PRICE OF THE REAL THING

CRITICAL MASS HELPS

HEADING

OLIVIA DAWSON MANAGES THE TOOLKITSS

EVERYONE OUGHTA HAVE ONE

TOOLKIT INSTRUCTIONS

HEY, THESE THINGS ACTUALLY WORK.

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