Sunday, 13 July 2008

Lenton's deadly crossings

Is this the most dangerous pedestrian crossing in Nottingham? The crossing outside the Derby Road Health Centre, at the road's junction with Johnson Road. Last week I was nearly hit by a school bus, the driver was on his mobile 'phone when he shuddered to a halt inches away from me. The next day Susan came within inches of a car which was heading towards the city, in the same lane as the car in the picture, and overtook a bus stopped at the crossing. Perhaps the car could not see the red crossing light on its side of the road and failed to notice the two red lights on the other side of the road?

All too often cars turning right out of Johnson Road and onto the Derby Road heading towards the QMC and Ring Road cut across oncoming city bound traffic. Over the years I have witnessed numerous accidents being narrowly avoided by cars screeching to a halt just in time.

Another dangerous aspect of this crossing is the fact that it is within 200 yards or so of the busy Derby Road/Lenton Boulevard junction. As traffic from the Boulevard on the Derby Road lights pull away it accelerates and often has to break hard when the crossing lights go red.

From the pedestrian's point of view, the slowness of these lights tempts many walkers (including myself) to cross when we see a gap in the oncoming traffic. You can wait, seemingly, forever for the crossing lights to go red. The pedestrian crossing lights on Lenton Boulevard stop oncoming traffic within seconds.

This picture shows the Derby Road heading towards the QMC and Ring Road at its junction with Lenton Boulevard. It is so busy that it has the distinction of being the first road junction in England to get a traffic camera with the aim of catching traffic jumping the lights. Over the years there have been numerous road accidents here, yet it has never had pedestrian signals to enable walkers to cross the junction safely! In other words, within 200 yards of another there are two very dangerous crossings for pedestrians, yet Nottingham City Council continues to remain deaf to any requests for improvements.

About 100 yards up from the Derby Road/Lenton Boulevard junction is the pedestrian crossing outside the Savoy Cinema. Last year, the City Council spent a lot of money improving the road layout around the crossing, widening the pavements and putting in a larger central reservation for walkers. Why can't the same be done at the crossing outside the Derby Road Health Centre?

There are five pedestrian crossings with lights between the Savoy and the Ring Road. The only one without a central reservation or widened pavements is the one outside the Derby Road Health Centre!

For years local residents complained about the pedestrian crossing on Lenton Boulevard close to its junction with Church Street. Only a few years ago there used to be four lanes of traffic along the Boulevard. Eventually, the City Council responded and narrowed down the traffic to two lanes, widened the pavements and put in signals which go red within seconds of walkers pressing the button. It is the same a few hundreds yards down the Boulevard outside Lenton Primary School and Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum office, so why can't the same be done outside the Derby Road Health Centre?

I think it's time to tell Nottingham City Council that we want action now before someone ends up dead! For my part, I will ask the Forum to discuss the matter and ask our city councillors, Dave Trimble and Zahoor Mir, to get the matter discussed with Highways and a report taken to the City Council's Area 8 Committee. Doing nothing is no longer an option!

I want to see pedestrian lights at the Derby Road/Lenton Boulevard junction and the Derby Road Health Centre crossing moved further down, perhaps to where the out of town bus lane beside Devonshire Promenade begins. There may be other, better, solutions, but my proposed solution is a far better option than allowing the present situation to continue for much longer.

Teenagers caught with knives will be forced to tour casualty units and meet the relatives of stabbing victims, under government plans to combat the glorification of weapons within gangs.

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