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Aussie council's trial of 3D pedestrian crossings divides opinion

NSW will be trialing 3D pedestrian crossings for the first time and the innovative move has some people angry and confused.

The optical illusion will make the new crossings seem like they are rising from the pavement, in a bid to slow motorists and improve public safety.

The Northern Beaches Council announced on Friday the initiative will be rolled out at three high-traffic crossings in Manly, in partnership with Transport for NSW.

An example of a 3D crossing in Europe.
The first trial of 3D pedestrian crossings in NSW has been met with mixed opinions from locals. Pictured is the concept being installed in Europe. Source: Gevecko via Northern Beaches Council (Gevecko via Northern Beaches Council)

While it's a new initiative in NSW, the move has been successfully trialled in Europe, America, Asia and other Australian locations such as Queensland and Melbourne.

Work started on the new 3D markings in Manly on Sunday night and is expected to be completed on Wednesday.

Mixed response to new 3D crossings

Given the quirky nature of the trial, many people have shared their thoughts on social media, with the Northern Beaches Council page getting more than 2000 reactions on their Facebook page.

"I feel it is likely to cause more problems than it solves!" Anne-Maree Kape commented on the post.

"While locals may get used to it in time, visitors to the area are likely to be confronted by the 'blocks' in the road, be confused, slam on the brakes and cause more accidents than these 3D 'blocks' were intended to prevent!"

Many agreed with her sentiment, though one person argued that "if it was a major issue, its use wouldn’t have continued over the past decade in countries that have already adopted it."

Others thought the move wasn't inclusive to disabled people and the elderly.

"Aside from all the hazards this will present to drivers, especially those new to the area or in low light conditions, I would imagine this will be really dangerous to walk over for anyone with the slightest of eye or balance problems," Julie Manning said.

"Not everyone, especially the elderly, have perfect depth-of-field perception".

Example of 3D crossing in Europe.
A 3D pedestrian crossing in Europe in what appears to be lighter conditions. Source: Gevecko via Northern Beaches Council (Gevecko via Northern Beaches Council)

However council later clarified on their Facebook page that "to a pedestrian crossing the road they look flat, not raised".

"They cater for elderly or people with disability as they are flat, present no obstacles to pedestrians and are still high contrast like a standard crossing," they added.

The crossings are also being trialed in the slower 30km/hr zones only.

While most were open to the idea if it was considered safe, not everyone thought it was a good use of "taxpayers' money".

"They did one of these in North Fitzroy — two years later it's dirty, the illusion doesn't work and cars still drive appallingly," Nick Montgomery said on Twitter.

"Road safety in this country is a joke," another said on Facebook.

Pedestrians are asked to take extra care while the 3D crossings are being completed.

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