Samantha: Safety campaign will go on
Campaigners for safety improvements to the Lowestoft road crossing where a six-year-old was killed have vowed to continue their fight after securing an extra lollipop patrol.
Campaigners for safety improvements to the Lowestoft road crossing where a six-year-old girl was killed have vowed to continue their fight after securing an extra lollipop patrol.
Relatives of Samantha Castledine have led the calls for a new pedestrian crossing on the dangerous A12 Yarmouth Road and persuaded more than 5,000 people to sign petitions.
But the campaign was dealt a blow last month when the Highways Agency (HA) concluded there was "no evidence" that the design of the crossing was to blame for the accident and ruled out any immediate work.
A second crossing patrol assistant will be in place in February to ensure both lanes of traffic will be stopped and pedestrians will no longer need to wait on the central island where Samantha lost her life in March.
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Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who championed the campaign, welcomed the news but said he would continue to press the HA for improvements and markings to slow the flow of vehicles. "To me the safety of all children going to and from school and using that crossing is paramount," he said. "Having two crossing patrol officers in tandem is the safest method of crossing that road. In the past, children were being required to stand in that pen while the traffic was still moving - but from February both lanes will be stopped and this is a big step forward. I am very pleased with the responses of Suffolk School Crossing Patrol Service for putting that second officer in place."
Mr Blizzard said he wrote to the Highways Agency last week insisting they considered the addition of warning signs, road markings and the possibility of tactile paving.
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"I still think measures need to be taken to slow traffic down in that area," he said. "We need to make sure wherever there's a crossing point, people need to be aware and slow down."
Figures emerged this week which show 21 people were injured in accidents on the 300m stretch of the A12 surrounding the junctions with Hollingsworth Road and Gunton Church Lane between January 1, 2000 and June 30, 2007.
But the HA study says the record of the site had "improved greatly" and claims a 77pc reduction in accidents since a safety improve-ment scheme was carried out in October 2003.