Monday, 21 October 2019

‘Pedestrians putting lives at risk on village streets’

MORE double yellow lines and crossing patrols are needed in Wargrave, says a parish councillor.

Councillor Marion Pope said dangerous parking was a growing problem in the village and action had to be taken before there was a fatal accident.

The parish council says the area near Lloyds Pharmacy in Victoria Road is particularly busy when children are walking to and from school.

Wokingham Borough Council, the highways authority, removed traditional crossing patrol wardens in 2018 in favour of unmanned pedestrian crossings.

It denied this was a cost-cutting measure, although there will be long-term savings from not having to pay crossing wardens.

Cllr Pope said: “There are major highways issues in the village. We need to get something done now before someone gets killed. It has been a problem for a number of years and has been building for the last 10. With more and more developments in the village that is always going to happen but we need something to be done about it now rather than waiting two or three years.

“If you imagine one of your children on their scooter or walking to school, you would not want them to be obstructed by vehicles.

“Anything shooting up and down the road will not be seen by the children until it is too late.”

The parish council has received a number of complaints from parents concerned about cars parked dangerously when their children are going to and from school.

Cllr Pope said she would like to see crossing patrol wardens brought back and for double yellow lines to be used in problem areas. Victoria Road in particular was a “rat run” and drivers broke the speed limit when entering the village.

Cllr Pope explained: “You take your life in your hands sometimes. It is worse in the mornings and at the moment it is extremely dangerous.

“If there was a crossing patroller then it would help. Having a physical person there is much better. A lollipop lady might be the answer. They get to know the children and know the road system better.

“It would also be more likely to make drivers slow down. It all comes down to money but what is money when a child’s life is at risk?”

The area is already part of a pilot enforcement programme, with regular patrols made by traffic wardens, after the parish council complained to the borough council about a problem with on-street parking near the junction of Victoria Road with Hamilton Road and Purfield Drive. Cllr Pope said: “I would hope that the enforcement action would help but people may just ignore it.

“We do need yellow lines in various places in the village but we need something done now, especially because the winter is approaching and it is soon going to get dark earlier. Hopefully the wardens will talk to people and make them aware that they are parking in the wrong places. They have to make them more aware.”

John Halsall, who is a parish councillor and leader of the borough council, said: “There are no magic solutions to the problem.

“You could install a drop-off area but the geography of Wargrave does not really permit for this. 

“We are putting in another six traffic wardens across the borough and we hope this will help us to manage the problem. It is not an issue unique to Wargrave.”

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