Fears over road crossing danger

Green Party county councillor Sam Riches (left), with, from left, Tim Hamilton-Cox from Lancaster City Council, Lancaster Green Party co-ordinator, Gina Dowding, student Davey Ryuzaki and resident John Whitelegg, make  their feeling known at the temporary closure of the Stonewell pedestrian crossing.

Green Party county councillor Sam Riches (left), with, from left, Tim Hamilton-Cox from Lancaster City Council, Lancaster Green Party co-ordinator, Gina Dowding, student Davey Ryuzaki and resident John Whitelegg, make their feeling known at the temporary closure of the Stonewell pedestrian crossing.

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The temporary closure of a pedestrian crossing in Lancaster is an accident waiting to happen, according to residents and councillors.

The heavily-used crossing at Stonewell, on the city’s one-way system, is currently being upgraded to a Toucan crossing, which can be used by cyclists as well as pedestrians.

The work is due to last for 10 weeks, and pedestrians are being expected to use the crossing further up the road at Dalton Square.

But Sam Riches, County Coun for Lancaster East, said there was a clear risk to pedestrians as this was not an appropriate alternative.

Coun Riches said: “A lot of people are very concerned about the situation as it is an accident waiting to happen.

I carried out a site visit...and during the half-hour I was present at least 50 people tried to cross the road, including senior citizens and those pushing children in buggies.

“Some of the people were walking out into moving traffic.

“The situation is even worse at night, when there is poor visibility for drivers and pedestrians alike.

“We have Freshers’ Week events taking place at present, with lots of new students finding their way around our city, some of whom will have been drinking, so there is clear potential for a serious accident.

Coun Riches said that the county council’s highways department had assessed the site as being safe given the crossing further up the road, but she said this was not even visible from some places at Stonewell, and is in the wrong direction for anyone wanting to cross between Lower Church Street, Moor Lane and St Leonardgate.

She added: “If I had been consulted about the plans I would have asked for a temporary crossing and a speed limit to be put in place, and I would also have been active in publicising what was going to happen.

“This could have avoided most of the current problems.”

She has now requested that County Councillors should be consulted about any planned work which affects pedestrian crossings.