Saturday, 28 November 2020

Pedestrians have to dodge traffic when crossing road

A HIGHWAYS expert has called for a pedestrian crossing to be installed on a busy Henley road.

A HIGHWAYS expert has called for a pedestrian crossing to be installed on a busy Henley road.

Brian Wadsworth, who recently moved to Phyllis Court Drive with his wife, says pedestrians have to “dodge” traffic when crossing New Street.

Mr Wadsworth, who used to be director of strategic roads at the Department for Transport, raised his concerns in a letter to the town council.

He said it struck him as “very strange” that there was no pedestrian crossing in New Street.

Mr Wadsworth wrote: “Those of us walking from the Phyllis Court side of town (and visitors to the Kenton Theatre) are oblidged to dodge in and out of an often near-continuous stream of traffic in order to access the town centre.

“The situation is made worse by the fact that the corner at the top of New Street is quite blind and the traffic enters New Street from two  directions.

“There is no way to dodge around New Street, so everyone is forced to weave across through the traffic. Surely this situation must be addressed in the interests of road safety?

“The problem is exacerbated by the fact that when a gap materialises in the stream coming from the Marlow Road direction there is very often a small queue of vehicles waiting to enter New Street from the opposite direction, waiting behind the ‘yield’ marking at the right turn out of the town centre.”

Councillor Helen Chandler-Wilde told a meeting of the council’s traffic advisory committee that she was  sympathetic.

“I agree that crossing the road is dangerous,” she said. “They [drivers] come round the corner so quickly. A zebra crossing would be good because there is so much traffic.”

But David Tole, a highways officer at Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for roads, said: “My first thought was ‘I assume the town council has deep pockets’ as all these things must be funded by the town council. We don’t have the funds.”

He said the cost of a small zebra crossing would be between £20,000 and £25,000. Patrick Fleming, a member of the committee, said installing a 20mph sign might be an option.

Councillor David Eggleton suggested installing an island for people crossing the road but admitted this could cause congestion.

Mr Tole added: “There is probably a wider issue about pedestrian movements around the town.

“You have had a traffic study and, more than likely, will have a neighbourhood plan that potentially will bring in some funding for these sorts of things.

“The danger is doing bits here and there and you almost want to say, rather than responding to a former director of transport, how you are going to encourage people to walk and cycle and push pushchairs around town.”

In December 2014, a resident of New Street called for safety measures at the junction of New Street and Bell Street after being injured in a collision with a van.

Judi-Ann Roscoe was crossing New Street when she was struck by the van turning right from Bell Street. The impact sent her flying into the road and left her with painful bruises.

Mrs Roscoe, then 71, said: “The van crashed into me and I flew into the road. The driver stopped and said, ‘sorry, I didn’t see you’ but I was wearing a long, red coat. Had he stopped to yield at the junction he would have seen me.”

Mrs Roscoe said she had asked Oxfordshire County Council to improve safety measures in New Street many times but to no avail.

She said: “We live with it but we shouldn’t have to. I fear nothing will be done before there is a fatality.”

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