Stevenage dad of crash victim, 10, criticises council for saving money over lives

Toufik Moumen with Sharon Taylor, council leader at the pedestrian crossing on Monkswood Way

Toufik Moumen with Sharon Taylor, council leader at the pedestrian crossing on Monkswood Way - Credit: Archant

The father of a 10-year-old girl who died at a pedestrian crossing after a collision with a car has criticised highways chiefs for saving money before lives, and says the black spot is still not safe.

Yesmine Moumen died in December 2010 after a collision with a car at the traffic lights on Monkswood Way in Stevenage.

Her parents – Toufik and Yvonne – launched a campaign to improve safety at the crossing by reducing the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph and installing fixed speed cameras.

According to police statistics for mobile speed cameras, Monkswood Way is in the top 10 roads in Stevenage and North Herts for the most speeding offences recorded. In 2010 there were 148, rising dramatically to 457 last year.

The campaign has been backed strongly by Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor and the town’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Stephen McPartland.

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Now, funded by Councillor Taylor’s locality budget, Herts County Council has installed kerbside crossing detectors.

Using infrared light, they are designed to hold traffic for a longer period as they detect how fast pedestrians are walking when crossing.

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But Mr Moumen and Councillor Taylor visited the crossing yesterday and says the counting down displays they asked for as part of the new set up have not been installed, and say the time given for crossing varies from three seconds to 31.

He said: “It looks more dangerous now than before and if it does not have the countdown in my eyes it is not a proper crossing.

“We are already gutted Herts County Council has refused to install speed cameras because of the cost.

“Apparently it costs £65,000 for a speed camera. It’s come down to money, but how can you put a cost on someone’s life?

“Over the roundabout on St George’s Way there is a 30mph speed limit, and yet there are no crossings and there’s a central reservation barrier.

“My daughter paid with her life. That alone should be enough for them to do something, but you also have the college and a busy residential area. We don’t want anyone to get hurt again.

“The county has got to do the right thing. If they don’t do something now it could cost someone else their life.”

Councillor Taylor said: “We saw one lady start to cross and the lights changed before she made it across the road. There’s something wrong with the crossing and that is what Toufik has been saying all along. I will be raising the issue as a matter of urgency.”

County Hall says the new cameras are in working order but said any potential issues with timing would be investigated.

A spokesman said: “We have carried out extensive surveys at the site to assess both the speed of traffic and how the junction operates.

“The results did not raise any safety concerns. However, we will continue to monitor the situation.”

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