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Pedestrian safety has been improved at a busy Portsmouth junction, thanks to an innovative type of crossing. The X-crossing at the junction of Burnaby Road and Park Road has been installed by Portsmouth City Council and is the first of its kind in Hampshire.

Pedestrians can now walk diagonally in one movement across the junction using two controlled crossing points. A new red 'X' marks the spot of the new crossing where the original yellow box junction once stood.

Originally developed in Japan, X-crossings allow pedestrians to continue to cross straight across each arm of the junction or diagonally across the middle. The best known example in the UK is at London's Oxford Circus.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: "I'm delighted that the new crossing is now open and is improving pedestrian safety.

"We gave careful thought to how the junction was originally being used. By observing the way students and staff were crossing between the university campus and the library we decided that an X-crossing would be an ideal layout for this junction, as it allows walkers to cross safely from corner to corner.

"The improvements we're making to our transport routes will enable Portsmouth to continue to become a better city for walking and cycling, helping people to improve their health and our environment by being less reliant on their cars."

The improvements at the junction also included carriageway resurfacing on Park Road and a section of Burnaby Road, plus an upgrade to the existing traffic signalling.

Motion detectors located at the top of signal poles allow pedestrians additional time to cross at any one time. Once people have crossed safely, the signals revert back to traffic. This reduces traffic delay and increases the junction's efficiency by improving pedestrian and vehicle times.

The entire signalised junction now uses Extra Low Voltage (ELV) equipment, which is great news for the city's carbon footprint. By reducing the voltage the signal equipment requires, less energy is consumed. This is also important as it allows maintenance work to be carried out more safely.

Cyclists also benefit from clearer signalling with Low Level Signals (LLCS) which are mounted at cyclists' eye level. The LLCS provide cyclists with improved, clearer signals so that they have all the information they need to cross the junction safely.

An early release function allows cyclists a three second head start at the green signal to allow them to get up to speed when travelling through the junction. This is one of a number of improvements the council is making to provide a safer road network for cyclists across the city.

Work started on the X-crossing on 21 October and has taken approximately five weeks to complete. Contractors carried out the majority of the work overnight to minimise the impact on traffic and disruption to pedestrians in the area. The council worked with their roads contractor, Colas, to carry out these improvements.