Dear Ms Bezer
I refer to your recent petition for improved pedestrian crossing facilities serving Orchard Schools.
The County Council assesses the need for specific pedestrian crossing facilities using criteria that take account of the number of pedestrians crossing combined with the traffic flow, which determines the level of crossing difficulty. Where pedestrians cross over a length of road rather than in a specific place then a crossing may not be used by a significant proportion of pedestrians. This is increasingly likely where traffic flows are low and pedestrians are able to cross comfortably in the gaps in traffic flow, or where constraints on locating a crossing place it away from the desire line for pedestrians. An underlying principle to the assessment criteria is that controlled crossings will only operate satisfactorily if they are used on a regular basis throughout the day. Evidence shows that, as drivers become used to crossings being used only occasionally– such as at the start and end of the school day, during the week, and in term time only, pedestrian safety may be compromised. Although not a factor in the assessment process, it is worth noting that the cost of a signal controlled crossing is often around £100,000, which means that with limited resources at our disposal this type of facility, where feasible, has to be carefully prioritised and is often a long term aspiration rather than deliverable in the short term.
The County Council operates a School Crossing Patrol (SCP) service, which is subject to a similar assessment process as other formal crossing types. An SCP can be an effective way of assisting children and parents cross main routes on their journey to school.
Currently Orchard Schools benefit from three school crossing patrol sites: Beaulieu Road near Noads Way, Water Lane near Peartree Road and Challenger Way at the location of a footpath serving the school site.
The County Council also delivers specific road safety education and training aimed at helping children improve their road skills. We work closely with schools and our partner organisations including Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue to coordinate activities and help reduce casualties. In particular the Junior Road Safety Officer initiative provides a child centred approach to road safety education. The nominated Junior Road Safety Officers, supported by their school, take a role in educating their peer group on road safety through organising fun training activities. Streets Ahead pedestrian training aims to teach skills such as crossing roads and choosing the safest route, and Bikeability is aimed at child cyclists who learn skills in the playground that will help them to make independent journeys in the future.
I have attached a link to information on these initiatives that you may be interested in progressing through Orchard Schools. The County Council’s Road Safety Team will be happy to advise further.
Advisory 20mph speed limits may be considered for schools where they have flashing amber lights. This option is available to Orchard Schools for the area surrounding the entrance on Water Lane. The Traffic Management Team will be happy to advise should Orchard School wish to consider this further, and can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The County Council also encourages all schools to undertake School Travel Planning which assists with identifying the needs of pedestrians making the journey to school. This can result in attracting investment for the development of initiatives through the transport planning process. Our school travel planning team will be happy to advise Orchard Schools should they wish to explore this further, and I have attached a link to the information on our web site which you may find helpful.
I hope this information is of assistance. Contact details for each of the teams involved with the initiatives are included within the link.