Petition for zebra crossing

DANGEROUS U-turns, speeding drivers, increasing traffic, and the fear of accidents look set to win a group of elderly people a zebra crossing.Residents of sheltered complex Mays Court in Felixstowe launched a safety campaign because they say they take their lives in their hands whenever they cross the road outside their homes.

By Richard Cornwell

DANGEROUS U-turns, speeding drivers, increasing traffic, and the fear of accidents look set to win a group of elderly people a zebra crossing.

Residents of sheltered complex Mays Court in Felixstowe launched a safety campaign because they say they take their lives in their hands whenever they cross the road outside their homes.

They have witnessed several accidents on Garrison Lane – and are worried that someone will be killed before long.

They organised a petition – signed by more than 160 people – calling for a zebra crossing to be put in place to make it safer for residents and visitors to the seaside, and now look set to get their wish.

Traffic engineers and Felixstowe mayor, Harry Dangerfield, met the residents at the blackspot to discuss the situation.

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Senior engineer for traffic management with Suffolk County Council, Angela Rapley, said: "Having listened to the problems and walked along the area, it was generally agreed that the location with the best visibility and where footpaths are wide enough for a possible crossing is outside Mays Court itself.

"If the lay-by area were converted to a footpath, the U-turning vehicles would be stopped and a wider area of footway could be built for people to wait to cross."

Consultation was now taking place with councillors on a possible safety scheme involving removing the lay-by and putting a zebra crossing in place, moving the traffic island at Chaucer Road slightly north and making it bigger with a refuge, and putting in proper dropped kerb crossing points.

The scheme would be discussed by the council highways advisory committee this month but no date could yet be given on when work might start.

Residents say Garrison Lane has been getting busier with more lorries and cars using it. Many of the residents of Mays Court also had problems with their sight, hearing or mobility, which made it even more perilous to cross.

A major concern is the number of motorists forced to turn left out of Orwell Road, where right turns are banned, who refuse to travel down to the roundabout to turn round and make illegal U-turns on Garrison Lane.

There have also been safety concerns on another part of Garrison Lane, outside Deben High School, where Martin Cumberland, 14, was knocked down last month by a motorcycle, and this area is being looked at as part of the local traffic action plan.

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