Crossing upgraded to make busy road safer for disabled people

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 April 2019

John Hunter and Martyn at the zebra crossing which has been upgraded after people campaigned.  Picture: Jeremy Long

John Hunter and Martyn at the zebra crossing which has been upgraded after people campaigned. Picture: Jeremy Long

(C)2016 Jeremy Long / JCLPhotography, all rights reserved

Campaigners are delighted they can cross a busy Nailsea road safely, thanks to a new puffin crossing.

Martyn at the zebra crossing which has been upgraded after people campaigned. Picture: Jeremy LongMartyn at the zebra crossing which has been upgraded after people campaigned. Picture: Jeremy Long

North Somerset Council announced plans to downgrade the device from a pelican to a zebra crossing in December last year.

More: Road safety fears for disabled and elderly after crossing proposal in Nailsea.

Martyn at the zebra crossing which has been upgraded after people campaigned.  Picture: Jeremy LongMartyn at the zebra crossing which has been upgraded after people campaigned. Picture: Jeremy Long

The proposal led to scores of objections from people who were concerned about the safety of elderly and disabled people who regularly use the crossing.

Thanks to support from Nailsea Disability Initiative, Nailsea Town Council, the disability manager at North Somerset Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, the decision was overturned.

More: Council U-turn on crossing due to safety fears.

The device has been upgraded to a puffin crossing which has sensors to detect if pedestrians are crossing slowly and can hold the red traffic light longer if needed.

Martyn Fackrell, who is blind, regularly crosses the road to visit the town.

He said: “I now feel much more relaxed because I know I will be able to cross Stock Way South in safety with the upgraded pedestrian lights.”

The crossing was due to be downgraded because the site does not come near the required score for a signalised crossing.

However, McCarthy & Stone is building retirement apartments on the site of the old police station in Stock Way South with 42 apartments for people over the age of 60.

People were concerned the new crossing would pose a safety risk to the elderly, disabled and visually impaired.

With zebra crossings, there are no audible signals to inform pedestrians traffic has stopped which poses a danger to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Campaigners appealed for a crossing with traffic lights which stop traffic to make it safer.

John Hunter, chairman of the town’s Speedwatch, led the campaign for an upgrade.

Speaking about the puffin crossing, he said: “This will provide all the safety aspects required for disabled people and some improvements for traffic using Stock Way South.

“Disabled people in Nailsea will be delighted at the change of heart by North Somerset Council to upgrade rather than downgrade the crossing.

“Common sense and protection for vulnerable people has prevailed.”

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