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Up the Junction: Greens call for safer road crossing

John Freeman

Bulk Ward Green councillors have asked Lancashire County Council for a pedestrian friendly re-modelling of the Ridge Lane and Bulk Road junction in Lancaster, saying it is a dangerous crossing point and raising concerns that there could be a death or serious injury if something isn't done.

The Ridge Lane and Bulk Road junction is a very wide road to cross if you are walking from Newton towards Lancaster's city centre. Traffic levels are heavy and vehicles approach the junction very fast indeed from Kingsway and sweep round onto Ridge Lane, paying very little attention to the elderly, children or anyone who can't move very fast.

Green councillors have been in discussion with County Council highways people about this junction but, so far, little progress has been made. They have now formally requested a significant build-out of the pedestrian pavement from the Salvation Army corner to create a pedestrian friendly environment, fearing that without it there may be a fatal or serious injury to Bulk residents crossing this road.

“Enough is enough," insists Coun Maia Whitelegg, commenting on the lack of progress to date. "This road crossing is extremely dangerous and I am fed up of delays and excuses.

"We need an engineering solution to reduce the distance that has to be crossed by pedestrians and to deter the speeding vehicles from sweeping round this bend at speeds that endanger the lives of our children and elderly residents.

"Lancashire County Council claims to be interested in road safety and to want to encourage walking so the time has come to stop dithering and get on with the job.”

Data from the Office of National Statistics for 2003 (which appears to be the most recent available) shows that in the Lancaster area as a whole, 23 people were killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents. 1,152 people were killed or seriously injured in Lancashire for the same period, of 6,884 nationally.

Data from the Association of Public Health Observatories indicates the Lancaster area is "significantly worse than the England average" on road injuries and death." (Note within PDF via that link, page 32).

Cyclists are three times more likely to die on UK roads than abroad, according to researchers from the University of Surrey, Guildford.