Boris the Zebra highlights need for crossing to Archway Island
�Three daring campaigners sported a panto-style zebra suit while repeatedly dashing across a dangerous junction, to highlight the need for a pedestrian crossing.
The trio, who were together dressed as “Boris the Zebra”, risked their safety by racing back and forth across Archway junction dozens of times on Friday, in the hope of capturing the Mayor of London’s attention.
They are calling for a direct crossing from Archway station onto the island in the middle of the gyratory system, known as Archway Close.
It currently takes three crossings to reach the close, where there are many small businesses that suffer from a crippling lack of passing trade.
The group was led by artist and Archway resident Jane Ralley, of St John’s Grove, who helped co-ordinate the quirky stunt and kept watch for oncoming traffic.
She said: “The zebra ran across about 30 times. There’s a six second gap where the traffic stops and you can make it over. We’re saying, if that gap was slightly longer and a zebra crossing was there, then people would be able to get to the island much more easily.
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“It would benefit the businesses by encouraging footfall. At the moment, businesses are suffering, and it’s dangerous to do that crossing, but people do it anyway.
“I feel very sorry for the shops on the island, they are really struggling.”
Ms Ralley, 55, roped in two students and a charity worker to don the zebra outfit, and they carried a sign that read: “Why did Boris the Zebra cross the road? To get directly to Archway island!”
The proposed crossing would go from a small pedestrian island in the middle of Junction Road, across Holloway Road, to the corner of Archway Close.
Islington Council has a long-term vision of removing the gyratory and making the island more accessible, but that would cost millions of pounds and probably not happen for years, if at all.
Ms Ralley believes businesses need help right away and says this single crossing would be far easier and cheaper to install, estimating that it would cost no more than �100,000.
Elvis Nelaj, 32, the owner of Spaghi Pizzeria Ristorante in Archway Close, said: “All of us businesses support the idea.
“It’s very difficult for us at the moment, we don’t get any passing trade.
“Getting rid of the gyratory would take years, but this is something that could be done quickly. It would mean a lot to us because it’s hard to survive without footfall.”
Islington Council said it welcomes “ideas to improve access to the roundabout”.
A TfL spokesman said: “TfL is working closely with Islington on proposals to redesign Archway. We are keen to see improvements at this location and are working together on designs which we understand are due to be finalised during 2013.”