New crossing: fatality fears

PUBLISHED: 13:07 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:37 10 June 2010

After at least 40 years waiting, Woodbury has now finally been granted a new crossing so residents should be able to get from one side of the very busy B3179 to the other in safety.

After at least 40 years' waiting, Woodbury has now finally been granted a new crossing so residents should be able to get from one side of the very busy B3179 to the other in safety.

Regrettably, county highways decided to install the cheapest possible solution to try to appease the situation.

Various proposals were put forward for consultation, and there were public meetings where villagers could air their views and make suggestions.

Sadly, none of the views put forward by locals, some in great detail, were taken on board by Devon County Council.

The current situation is now far more dangerous than it was before, purely because DCC have skimped on the cost.

All we have now got is a basic Pelican crossing with two orange beacons, which are so dim that they cannot be seen in the morning sunlight, or any other time of day come to that!

Drivers of cars are, therefore, not aware there is a crossing ahead and should slow down. A tiny red warning notice has been put on a red brick wall (!) and an electronic speed sign has been put on the wrong side of the road too close to the crossing.

By then, the drivers who are doing 50mph in a 30 zone have a job to pull up anyway. However, it must be said that some drivers are courteous and do stop for pedestrians. Thank you to them.

It appears that we have been "lumped" with this type of crossing purely because the Woodbury crossroads area is within a so-called scheduled conservation area.

Because it is in such an area, it appears the "Rule Book" says we cannot have any bright flashing lights or coloured road markings. How stupid can you get! The road is already covered with markings, and the conservation area status cannot possibly be regarded as high quality enough to have to abide by these archaic rules.

Having myself witnessed a near fatal accident to a person who was using the crossing only last week, it is clear the crossing is not working. If he had been a half a pace back, he would have been killed. The car driver never saw him - or stopped!

He is not the only one who is known to have had a "close shave". Residents are afraid to send their younger children to the Post Office to buy their sweets unaccompanied, for fear of an accident.

It is absolutely essential pedestrian controlled lights are installed here. This is the only logical solution to save lives. The car driver then knows what he has to do, and so does the pedestrian or child.

It may be a conservation area (of sorts!), but I would have thought that the conservation of human lives was a lot further up the list of priorities.

If Highways are not interested in road safety, perhaps they should be paraded across the crossing for an hour or two to give them a bit of a wake up call. At least before, you may have had to wait a long time to cross the road when you waited for a lull in the traffic, but you did not have the fear of being run over. Now you put your foot on the crossing and wait to see if someone drives over it!

Hopefully, we haven't got to wait another 40 years to get it put right. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of Bob Miller's book (Journal last week) and sort it out ourselves!

Something has to be done urgently. Surely someone in highways has some common sense - or do they? Throw the rule book away and use your brains!

A few more "Inquiries" first no doubt, and maybe a death. Just hope it's not me!

Roger Stokes,

(Your views can be registered on the Woodbury website at www.woodburydevon.co.uk/crossingpoll.htm)

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