CROSSING: The result of years of our hard work

Your article on the proposed new zebra crossing on Percy Park Road (News Guardian, March 10), is not entirely accurate and I would welcome the opportunity to provide some historical facts.

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 6:00 am

As a former Tynemouth ward councillor I began the campaign for safer crossing facilities at Percy Park Road in 2012 when the school crossing patrol officer left and the council had been unable to replace her, despite advertising the post.

Additional road safety concerns following the new academy status of Kings School and Priory Primary, which resulted in the merger of two separate schools in 2013, meant that big groups of children were walking between both school sites and also attending the sports field at nearby Priors Park.

Furthermore, the road layout and positioning of parking bays on Percy Park Road meant reduced visibility for pedestrians attempting to cross.

North Tyneside Council’s traffic department conducted vehicle and pedestrian surveys at Manor Road and Percy Park Road every three years, but its most recent survey in 2012 showed that pedestrian and vehicle values were insufficient to warrant a pedestrian crossing.

However, with the help of parents, carers and teachers, we decided to conduct an assessment of the numbers of pupils, staff and helpers moving between the junior school site and senior site, as well as to the sports field and to attend other school activities. Our surveys were carried out over a six-week period during June and July 2014.

The data showed that there were groups of 25, 75 and, on occasions, 100 pupils, staff and helpers moving between the two school sites. This is a huge logistical exercise involving large groups of sometimes quite young children and their helpers crossing busy road junctions, and placing a considerable road safety responsibility on Kings Priory Academy.

I compiled the data into a spreadsheet and presented it to North Tyneside Council traffic officers in July 2014. Our evidence confirmed the need for safer crossing facilities, not just on Percy Park Road, but also at the junction of Front Street/Percy Park Road, a further road safety hazard for pupils.

I am delighted that my efforts, and especially those of all the parents and teachers who helped me to produce an evidential basis for a pedestrian crossing on Percy Park Road, have finally resulted in it becoming a reality. Those residents who signed the petition, which was started at my suggestion, also deserve credit. My intention had been to gather enough petition signatures to trigger a debate at a meeting of the full council.

It is therefore news to all of us who have been working hard on this issue since 2012 that Karen Lee was the driving force behind it.

Jean McLaughlin

Tynemouth ward councillor, 2011-2015