Parents welcome moves to improve safety at crossing

FAMILIES are delighted that their calls for safety improvements on North Street in Downend have achieved success.

Their concerns about the risks at the pedestrian crossing near to Christ Church Infant School have been heeded by South Gloucestershire Council. Officers are now looking at several safety measures for the crossing.

Mum Karen Davis, who has been leading the campaign alongside Jane Greenway, a fellow parent, said the changes proposed would make the road safer not only for parents and children but for the many people, including the elderly, who use the crossing to get to the church, the church hall and the doctors’ surgery.

She urged residents to keep up the pressure so that, as well as having the crossing upgraded, a 20mph speed limit could be introduced.

Mrs Davis and other parents wrote to the council following a number of near-misses at the crossing on the busy road between Staple Hill and Downend.

She said she had witnessed many incidents while walking her daughters, Yasmin, five, and Isabel, seven, to school.

“My biggest fear is that something terrible is going to happen there,” she said, “We have seen so many near-misses over the last few months. It is a bit of a blind spot. Drivers go too fast and don’t realise in time that the crossing is there. We have seen cars go into the back of vehicles that have stopped at the crossing, and there are other drivers who try to overtake on the crossing.

Parked cars around the area make it more dangerous, especially in the mornings when drivers are rushing through to get to work.”

South Gloucestershire Council said in a statement: “Our traffic management and road safety teams have assessed the crossing on North Street in Downend and are currently investigating several options for safety improvements.

“These include increasing the crossing’s visibility, upgrading its flashing beacons and adding coloured road surfacing around the crossing area.“In the longer term we are also looking at options to introduce a school crossing patrol.

“We additionally hope to put forward a scheme to restrict the speed limit in the vicinity of the crossing on North Street to 20mph. This will be placed on the Local Transport Priority Implementation list and offered for selection by local Councillors at next year’s Chase Area Forum meeting.”

Mrs Davis said: “We would like to thank South Gloucestershire Council for re-assessing North Street pedestrian crossing. We are pleased to be able to offer reassurance to parents of the school and the community that the safety and wellbeing of themselves and their children is being taken seriously.

“The changes in the lights and crossing and recruitment of a traffic warden will all help in slowing traffic in this area

“We all feel strongly that the additional 20mph limit still needs to be introduced to give maximum protection to all using the crossing and we look forward to working with South Gloucestershire Council to ensure this happens at the earliest opportunity.”

Co-head teacher Sarah Helm said: “We are very pleased with the council’s response and the recognition of the insufficiency of the current crossing. The plans that have been proposed will certainly impact positively upon our whole school community and will mean that families are able to walk to school with increased safety.

“It is great that we have not had to wait for an accident to occur before this has been addressed and we look forward to the planned developments being put into place.”

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