Three new pedestrian crossings have been installed in recent months and are now operational, helping families with the walk to six schools in West Sussex.
The crossings in Crawley, Burgess Hill and Thakeham represent a total investment of more than £500,000 and will improve safety for families with school-age children – plus pedestrians generally.
With schools reopening and roads becoming busier after lockdown, people are being encouraged to leave their cars at home and consider other travel choices.
Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “The new crossings provide a safer route to schools for families and to other local amenities for pedestrians generally.
“People are being encouraged to consider walking or cycling for their journeys, if they can. It’s a great way to get fit, save fuel money and reduce the number of cars on the road. This in turn will improve air quality and reduce congestion.”
A diagonal pedestrian crossing – a ‘first’ for West Sussex – was installed in Thakeham just before lockdown and will help families with their walks to two nearby schools and benefit the wider community.
Some residents, schools, councillors and local parish councils had expressed concern about the lack of safe crossing options at the Water Lane/Thakeham Road mini roundabout junction.
Narrow stretches of road and pavement, plus poor visibility in places, meant there was no simple way to significantly improve pedestrian safety there. Standard Puffin and Zebra crossings were rejected because they would have meant placing them very near the mini roundabout, which would have been unsafe, while placing them further away would have put pedestrians at risk if they were tempted to take a short cut and did not use them correctly.
West Sussex Highways engineers devised a solution, including: changing the mini roundabout to a fully traffic-light controlled junction; a dedicated pedestrian crossing phase on both the northern and eastern ‘arms’; an option to use a diagonal crossing for pedestrians going east to west: this is the first use of its kind in West Sussex and enables more pedestrians to clear the junction without having to wait for the next cycle of ‘green man’ time.
The crossing cost a total of about £310,000, with an additional £30,000 worth of road patching and footway resurfacing carried out during the installation.