Safety campaigner slams new crossing as 'useless and dangerous'
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A transport campaigner believes its only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt on a busy city street — and that anything less than a Pelican crossing puts pedestrians at risk.
John Peacock, representative for Living Streets Norwich, said he was baffled as to why Norfolk County Council had replaced the pedestrian refuge in South Park Avenue, just by the entrance to Eaton Park, with an "equally useless" zebra crossing.
The 67-year-old said because the crossing is preceded by a blind bend, there needs to be traffic lights in place to force drivers to stop— or at least a permanent warning sign to give them the heads up.
Roadworks to widen South Park Avenue to allow two buses to pass each other, and to replace the refuge crossing with a zebra crossing, began in July and have overrun into October.
Mr Peacock explained: "Currently, the new crossing has temporary pedestrian-controlled traffic lights.
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"But once the traffic lights are removed it becomes basic zebra crossing, with the onus on drivers to give way to pedestrians.
"Though it's a 20mph zone, there's clearly potential for reckless or speeding drivers to end up in a collision with those using the crossing.
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A Transport for Norwich spokeswoman said the zebra crossing had been subject to all usual "road safety audits", and would be further scrutinised as part of a post-construction audit in the next few months.
She stressed that vehicles travelling down South Park Avenue have good compliance with the existing 20mph limit, and 'New Zebra Crossing Ahead' signs will remain in place for three months on both approaches to warn drivers of the new layout.
Explaining the benefits of the crossing, she added: "The newly-completed crossing improves access to Eaton Park for those on foot."
But Mr Peacock argued that "the council has just replaced one problem with another" and that a Pelican crossing was needed to make people feel safe.
The county council said beacons were being connected to the electricity network today, and the removal of the temporary traffic lights would soon follow.