Sat, 17 Sept 2016
A HIGH Street zebra crossing branded a potential death trap is back in the news.
The crossing, outside Martins newsagents in Hungerford High Street, was the subject of renewed discussion at a recent meeting of Hungerford Town Council.
And there were fresh calls to move a red telephone kiosk which, some fear, makes the crossing even more hazardous.
The controversy was first reported by this newspaper in June following a series of incidents.
Traders say barely a day goes by without a near miss and one said: “We hear the brakes and cringe, expecting to hear a thud at any second.”
The issue was highlighted by Chrissie O'Farrell, who works at PBA Accountants and Business Advisers Ltd in Hungerford High Street.
She wrote to this newspaper warning: “The zebra crossing outside Martins newsagents in Hungerford is lethal.
“I can no longer count on one hand the amount of times I have witnessed someone nearly getting mowed down by speeding cars that do not stop for the zebra crossing.
“I have witnessed children and their mother nearly get knocked down.
“I have been in the middle of the crossing when a car coming the other way has failed to stop on more than one occasion.”
She added that she had recently seen a man struck by a car as he used the crossing.
Other traders told similar stories and several residents wrote to the editor expressing their concern.
Several weeks ago the lines marking the crossing were repainted and a spokesman for West Berkshire Council, Martin Dunscombe, said: “We are having several sites in Hungerford re-marked, including the mini-roundabouts, and this is part of our maintenance programme.”
Hungerford Town Council’s highways and transport committee has suggested having crossing lights installed and town mayor Martin Crane said a telephone box contributed to the problem as it blocked motorists’ view of pedestrians about to cross.
He suggested moving it might improve safety.
At the recent council meeting the chairman of the highways and transport committee, deputy mayor Rob Brookman, said: “Following the article in the Newbury Weekly News it seems there is still dangerous driving associated with that crossing.”
PCSO Kelsey Johnstone of Thames Valley Police’s Hungerford and Lambourn Valley neighbourhood team told the meeting: “We’re aware of the issue, but incidents need to be reported to us there and then, otherwise there’s not much we can do.
“If possible, get the car’s registration number plus the make and model, then contact us via the 101 number. We will then be able to look for the vehicle.”
She suggested CCTV might also provide useful data.
Meanwhile, Mr Brookman said that, while he acknowledged removing or moving the telephone kiosk might prove controversial, he would be writing to the highways authority, West Berkshire Council, “to ask them to look at the safety issues surrounding the current positioning of the telephone box."