Release date: 10 September 2020
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.”
Crawley’s new pedestrian crossing:
Partnership working has resulted in a pedestrian crossing being installed near a school in Crawley.
West Green Primary School requested the Puffin crossing for West Green Drive and worked with the county council’s transport improvements team to build the case for road safety improvements.
Other enhancements had already been introduced, including ‘School Keep Clear’ markings, to provide pupils and parents with a safer environment.
Throughout this process, West Green continued to provide pupils with road safety education and encourage sustainable travel.
West Green Primary School Business Manager Annette Tomsett said: “The school is delighted to have worked closely with West Sussex County Council in bringing to fruition this crossing. It will make a huge difference in the safe route to school for our pupils and families, alongside having a positive impact for the whole community for now and for the future.”
The improvements cost a total of about £100,000.
Annette is pictured trying the new crossing with her daughter before the school reopened.
New pedestrian crossing in Keymer Road, Burgess Hill
The county council worked in partnership with Burgess Hill Girls to install a new crossing in Keymer Road. The crossing will also benefit families walking to two other local schools, plus the wider community going to the shops or the nearby railway station.
Local county councillor Anne Jones said: “With pupils accessing three schools each side of the busy Keymer Road, this is an essential part of the safer routes to schools programme. Thank you to the team that made this possible.”
The scheme cost approximately £110,000 and Burgess Hill Girls will be making a contribution towards this.
Diagonal crossing for the Water Lane/Thakeham Road junction, Thakeham
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.