When cuts put our children in danger
WHAT price safety for our youngsters crossing the roads on the way to school?
It seems almost unthinkable that the county council is proposing to get rid of our lollipop men and women – to save �230,000 a year, just �12,000 more than its chief executive Andrea Hill is paid.
Which would you rather have?
The crossing wardens do a fantastic job, trusted by parents to get their children across some of our busiest roads at the busiest times of the day, particularly the mornings, ensuring their safety on the last leg of their journey to school.
Many parents wanting to allow their youngsters some independence and prepare them for high school will allow their children to walk to school, knowing the lollipop man or woman will help them over the most difficult bit.
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Some of those roads are especially dangerous, others perhaps not so.
Langer Road in Felixstowe is a road every parent would surely be afraid to allow their nine-year-old to cross on their own.
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Fast-moving traffic of all kinds desperate to get to work on a long straight road. It’s a recipe for potential disaster.
Maidstone Road and Grange Road, Felixstowe, though have plenty of humps and bumps and slower traffic, less vehicles, arguably many of them belonging to parents.
It will only take one accident though outside one school for there to be uproar – political suicide for all those county councillors who vote for the wardens’ removal.
So perhaps there needs to be different solutions for each crossing point – certainly not an abandoning of the whole system.
Wardens should stay at some places, zebras be put in at others, and the community provide solutions at other spots through volunteering or sponsorship of crossing patrols.
Apparently the argument against zebras is the cost of the work and the electricity for the belisha beacons.
It is also said they would be unused for most of the day. That’s patently rubbish in many cases – Trimley High Road and Langer Road are both crying out for identified crossing places.
It seems inevitable crossing patrols will go – and the community will have to step in. The Big Society in action.
For the sake of our children’s safety, we have to find solutions to ensure youngsters can be crossed over safely at all the places we currently have crossings.
? Give me your views – write to firstname.lastname@example.org or Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, or email email@example.com
? Read Richard Cornwell’s full column every week in FX – the eight-page pull-out all about the Felixstowe area in the Evening Star every Wednesday.