Campaigners say planned road changes will make children’s walk to school more dangerous
- Credit: Neil Didsbury
Protesters have gathered at a busy junction in Norwich which they say will be made more dangerous for schoolchildren by planned roadworks.
Campaigners say pedestrians – particularly pupils at four nearby schools – have not be taken into consideration in the proposals to replace signalled crossings over Colman Road with staggered crossings.
The £650,000 scheme was given the green light by county and city councillors last month – but with an action to further consider the impact on the school crossing patrol.
At the protest on Friday Andrew Tullett, governor at Colman Junior School, said there could be 'unforeseen consequences' from the plans.
'The council say the refuges [central crossing islands] they are putting in place are standard size crossings but this is not a normal crossing – it is the busiest crossing in front of a school in the whole of the county,' he said.
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'We are trying to encourage children to be independent and make their own way to school, especially in year six before the move to high school, and this is going to make it a very dangerous pinch point.'
Crossing patrol officer Adi Pope said he would struggle to cover all the new staggered crossings around the Colman Road/South Park Avenue junction.
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'It is going to be worse for the kids, especially for the Clare School. There is no way they are going to be able to get wheelchairs and bikes on the refuges and to stay in the middle of the road will be dangerous,' he said.
The alterations to the ring road between South Park Avenue and the A11 Newmarket Road will include replacing signalled crossings over Colman Road near South Park Avenue, Mornington Road and close to Waldeck Road on Mile End Road with staggered crossings.
Three schools – Colman Junior, Colman Infant and the specialist Clare School – are located in close proximity to the area while students from City of Norwich School and the University of East Anglia also use the crossings, with foot traffic heaviest near South Park Avenue.
A spokesperson for Transport for Norwich said: 'Changes in the Mile End Road area of Norwich are designed to reduce congestion and cut pollution. The introduction of staggered pedestrian crossings is an important part of this because it will significantly improve traffic flow along the outer ring road and at the Daniels Road roundabout.'