Mother raises concerns over "unsafe" Newbury traffic lights
A CONCERNED mother has raised the alarm over an “unsafe” set of traffic lights in Newbury.
Elly Hase said the redesign of the A4-Lower Way junction has left one part of the crossing unsafe, leaving her worried over her disabled daughter’s journey to and from school.
Previously, each crossing over the junction was protected by a green man traffic signal.
Following the redesign however, the pedestrian crossing over the left turn into Lower Way from the A4 is no longer protected by a green man, leaving pedestrians to assess whether it is safe to cross.
It is the only part of the new crossing that isn’t protected by traffic lights.
Mrs Hase, whose 16-year-old daughter Ciara has global development delays and learning difficulties and has to cross the junction every day to catch the bus to special education needs school The Castle School in Monks Lane, said she now worries every day.
She said: “It used to be completely protected – they’ve redone it but the turn from the A4 to Lower Way is no longer protected by traffic lights.
“You have to assess it yourself.
“If Ciara has to assess how fast a car is travelling, she can’t do that because she processes things too slowly.
“You think it’s a safe crossing but it’s not.
“It’s the only road she crosses without a light to or from college.”
Although a red light for the cars on the A4 means the junction is clear to cross, Mrs Hase – a special education needs teacher in Reading – said it was just another thing for her daughter to assess to get safely to school.
She continued: “It’s just made it scarier for her.
“It made her cry a lot initially even when we’re with her.
“I just think it makes her feel less safe. I think she now understands if it’s red for the cars she can cross, but it’s taken quite a few months for her to do that.”
Mrs Hase said the redesign didn’t just affect her daughter – the removal of the green man signal would also impact people with other disabilities, such as blind people.
She is now calling for a sign showing when pedestrians can cross to be installed, rather than an “on-demand” button.
Mrs Hase has approached West Berkshire Council, which told her that as very few cars turned left into Lower Way from the A4, pedestrians had “ample opportunity” to cross.
It added that the remaining crossings across the junction had retained their green man traffic signals as there was a much greater volume of traffic.
A spokesperson from the council's transport and countryside team said: "We did remove the push button facilities from the crossing of the left turn slip road as part of last year's junction improvement project.
"This was done after careful consideration of the risks and benefits.
"On safety and risk grounds we were comfortable at the time that the controlled facility was not required, due to the low speeds and good visibility.
"There is sufficient opportunity to cross when the adjacent traffic light is at red, just no confirmatory green man/cycle light.
"However, having received some comments from users of the crossing, we are now reviewing this decision.”