Fears schoolchildren will be put in danger by Norwich ring road changes

Rush hour traffic in Colman Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rush hour traffic in Colman Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A decision will be made today on controversial changes to Norwich's ring road, which school governors fear will put young children at risk.

Adi Pope, school crossing patrol officer. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Adi Pope, school crossing patrol officer. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

The £650,000 scheme for the ring road between South Park Avenue and the A11 Newmarket Road includes a number of changes aimed at improving traffic flow.

Existing signalled crossings over Colman Road near South Park Avenue and Mornington Road and close to Waldeck Road on Mile End Road, will be replaced with staggered crossings.

And that worries the governors at Colman Junior School, in South Park Avenue, who say they have 'grave concerns' it will make children more vulnerable.

Ed Rose, chairman of the governors, said in his objection: 'Our primary concern at all times has to be for the safety and welfare of our school community and local community more generally.

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'We have major concerns regarding the proposed scheme in terms of safety and whether due diligence has been carried out during its design.'

The school community fought to save the school crossing patrol which helps children cross the road at the South Park Avenue lights.

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And Mr Rose said: 'One of the biggest dangers at the South Park Avenue/Colman Road junction currently is driver negligence - mainly the running of red lights.

'These proposals are not aimed at resolving this problem. In fact, staggering the crossings will make it impossible, as at present, for one crossing patrol to manage young pedestrians across both lanes of traffic.

'Introducing staggered and uncontrolled crossings whilst also encouraging higher volumes of faster moving traffic to drive across them will leave our pupils even more vulnerable.'

However, officers are recommending that members of Norwich highways agency joint committee agree to the changes when they meet today.

Officers say assessments on the safety of staggered crossings had been carried out. They said: 'There is no evidence to suggest that a staggered crossing presents a particular increased risk to children or other road users.

'A staggered crossing ensures that waiting pedestrians are only required to check that traffic has stopped from one direction and also that they are in the live carriageway for a shorter period of time overall.'

What they said:

Adi Pope, school crossing patrol officer at Colman Infant School and Colman Junior School, said he did not think the changes would make the road safer.

He said: 'I don't think it's a good idea. With the crossings staggered, it's going to make it more difficult for me to control it.

'They say they're trying to improve congestion at the roundabout, but I think it will make it worse here, because it will bunch up the minibuses which go to the Clare School.'

Lyndsey Ryan, whose daughter goes to Colman Junior School, said: 'To be quite honest, that road is dangerous enough as it is without them trying to get the traffic moving even faster.

'That's why we've got a crossing patrol. I don't think anything they do will make it better and it could make it worse.'

Parent Linda Duong said: 'I don't like the idea of a staggered crossing where the pupils will end up stuck in the middle waiting for the lights to change.'

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