Wednesday 31 December 2008

Car supremacism in Barnsley

A MAN left in a wheelchair by cerebral palsy has launched a campaign for a pedestrian crossing outside the supported housing scheme where he lives. A pedestrian crossing would help not only Mark but also the other 20 residents of the sheltered housing scheme, plus pensioners. But Barnsley Council insists the site does not meet criteria for a pedestrian crossing. A spokesman said: "There are very strict national criteria which must be met before pedestrian crossing facilities can be considered for installation. Among the criteria, there needs to be a sustained flow of pedestrians crossing the carriageway throughout the whole of the day. Data captured on site shows that, at Church Street, Carlton, this does not exist. It is important new pedestrian crossing facilities are used frequently and over a sustained period to make the facility safe." He added Department for Transport guidance said that, where crossings are little-used, drivers can forget they are there, creating a more dangerous situation.

Gosh, yes, it’s so easy for a driver to forget about a pedestrian crossing when they are chatting on a mobile, isn’t it? And a driver’s hypothetical forgetfulness must always come before the needs of someone with cerebral palsy who needs to cross a road.

In fact the Barnsley Council man is telling porkies. The criteria were relaxed some years ago, giving councils the freedom to put in crossings more or less wherever they want to (except on A roads).