Report by Karen Richards
Thursday, May 24, 2012
ROAD safety outside schools is being ramped up across towns and villages in North Somerset following action by concerned parents and police.
The Times has featured a number of crossing campaigns started across the district in the past year, which are now beginning to see safety measures being implemented.
Avon and Somerset police has also announced child safety on the roads is the focus of a new campaign this month, with traffic officers visiting schools and talking to parents.
Residents in Backwell are finally seeing the result of a campaign they started 13 years ago with the installation of a user-operated puffin crossing on the busy A370, which started earlier this month.
The parish council appealed to Bristol Airport for help to fund building it, following North Somerset Council withdrawing a promised £39,000 towards the scheme in 2010.
Work should be completed by the end of the month.
North Somerset councillor Karen Barclay, who was at the forefront of the campaign, said she was ‘delighted’ the crossing is now going in and said it is not the end of safety measures planned for the village.
She added: “Work started a few weeks ago on a 20mph safety zone on Station Road which will be activated at school times.
“And we have also recently had pedestrian safety improvements made close to Waverley Road, to assist people crossing.”
In Clevedon, North Somerset Council has just announced plans for a new zebra crossing on Strode Road, outside Mary Elton School, with work due to start in the next few months.
In Pill, the pavement outside Crockerne Primary School will soon be widened, following an accident in October where a boy needed a metal plate fitted for a serious leg injury.
Governors and staff have been campaigning for a single yellow line and a safe crossing point for Westward Drive in the village but the unitary authority has said the bigger footpath will mean better visibility for pedestrians.
There are also plans to introduce a 20mph speed restriction.
In Flax Bourton, flashing 20mph signs have appeared outside the primary school to encourage drivers speeding along Station Road to slow down.
The school’s appeal last year for a crossing patrol was turned down as it was considered too small to warrant one.
In Yatton, lorry drivers agreed to a 20mph voluntary speed limit earlier this month along North End Road and High Street, a popular school walking route, following complaints from villagers over childrens’ safety.
But so far an online petition for a crossing outside St Nicholas Chantry Primary School, in Clevedon, has fallen on deaf ears with North Somerset saying it is unlikely to take action because of the low number of people crossing there.
In Nailsea, the authority is still waiting to hear the result of a petition in support of safety measures outside St Francis Catholic Primary School, where pupils have been quizzing parents dropping their children off outside the gates.
The Times reported in March parents want a pedestrian crossing installed in Station Road after their lollipop lady resigned.
Executive member for strategic planning and highways, Councillor Elfan ap Rees, said: “Despite financial constraints we will continue to look sympathetically at genuine safety issues outside all our schools in North Somerset.”