Pedestrians 'dicing with death' on new zebra crossing

New zebra crossing on Chells Way in Stevenage

The new zebra crossing on Chells Way in Stevenage has raised safety concerns - Credit: Robin Parker

Safety concerns have been raised over the close proximity of a new zebra crossing to a junction, with disquiet that pedestrians are "dicing with death" if they use it.

The crossing was installed at The Glebe on Chells Way in Stevenage last month, with funding from Hertfordshire county councillor Robin Parker's Highways Locality Budget.

He said: "People find it difficult to cross Chells Way at busy times, so a new crossing was needed.

“I have been working on the planning and funding, along with highways officers, for about three years, so I am very pleased we have been able to build it successfully in the limited space available.

“Our survey showed most people cross near Tesco, so that is where, in consultation with highways officers, I decided to place it.

“It will provide a safe route for all pedestrians, including many students from Nobel, Marriotts, Lodge Farm and Camps Hill.”

However, the short distance of the crossing from the junction with Mobbsbury Way is causing people to question its safety.

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One resident said: "I appreciate we have a crossing, but the first time I used it some idiot came speeding around the corner from Mobbsbury Way and nearly knocked me over."

Another said: "It's a ridiculous place to put a crossing - more dangerous than helpful. It's like dicing with death."

A third said it "won't get moved to a safe place till a child is killed".

Some have welcomed the new crossing. One said: "It might not seem that ideal to some, but it's where lots of children cross. Having it there means drivers are aware someone might cross, instead of having kids just run across in front of them."

Another said: "It makes me more comfortable taking my children to the shops, knowing they are a lot safer."

Cllr Parker says residents' safety has always been a top priority. About the proximity of the crossing to the junction, he said: "The highways engineers said that is the only practical location for it."

He added: "I would be interested in local residents’ views on this aspect of the new crossing."

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said: “The new zebra crossing has been provided to make it easier for pedestrians to cross Chells Way, and it was located at the busiest location identified in pedestrian surveys undertaken.

"The crossing’s proximity to the junction met design guidance, but this was picked up as part of the Road Safety Audit and the design amended to allow enough distance for a bus to wait at the Mobbsbury Way 'give way' and not interfere with the crossing.

"As with all highway changes, the new crossing will undergo a stage 3 (post construction) safety audit, which will consider comments we’ve received as well as operational observations. Any safety issues identified can then be addressed and alterations made if necessary.”