Below is a self-explanatory letter from Aylesford Councillors Dave Smith and John Balcombe to Kent County Council. Let's hope the Council heeds their warnings and notes the number of parents who have signed the petition to get a proper crossing that will make it safer for children to get school:
Dear Cllr Ferrin
Please find enclosed a petition from parents whose children attend Aylesford Primary schools, Teapot Lane and St Peters, in relation to the need for suitable and safe pedestrian crossings for Station Road, Aylesford.
Over a year ago Cllr John Balcombe and I had site meetings with Highway engineers regarding safe crossings for Aylesford residents and school children.
On Monday 15th September 2008 we received a 10 page email from Highways informing me that they were going to install a Puffin crossing outside Aylesford Railway Station, what great news we thought! Some one has listened at last, we immediately informed the local Schools of this good news.
The next day we phoned Highways to thank them, only to be told that it was a typing error and that we are not having a Puffin Crossing but they are going to install a refuge island an uncontrolled aid for pedestrians?
KCC Highways have started work today 6th October 2008 outside Aylesford Railway station, to install another refuge island which doesn’t give pedestrians priority over motorist enabling them to cross the road safely.
The government are promoting the use of public transport, cycling, walking to help reduce carbon foot print etc, which we are in favour of, but what’s the point of the public using a bus or train only to find that when they disembark the transport, they can not cross the road safely to reach there destination, (it’s like building a house with out foundations) A school walking bus consists of 8/12 children and 2 volunteer adults, how many children can you get on a refuge island? A walking bus has no authority over traffic, it is a high risk for any adult to try and cross that amount of children on an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing, as it’s a high risk for all those young adults who use this route who attend Teapot Lane Secondary School.
As Borough Councillors for the ward Aylesford, we listen to the issues and problems the residents put forward to us, we try to resolve and do our best as we have a duty of care for the people, that’s why we were elected, but when we have to tell them for new road schemes, you need points for PIPKIN, then try to explain what PIPKIN is, the answers we receive and expressions on peoples faces say’s it all, and always the main question is, were is the duty of care?
At the end of the day we both realise that costing will always be an issue, but we feel that a Zebra crossing or Puffin crossing is the most realistic both for the flow of traffic and pedestrian safety. It would be cost effective and anything else will be a waste of tax payer’s money, especially if it needs to be redesigned or altered at a later date.
Commonsense in these issues should prevail.
What KCC should be promoting is consultation with local people to find out what they require, which intern will give KCC cost effectiveness’ and value for money for the tax payer.
Cllr David W Smith
Cllr John Balcombe
Borough Councillors for the ward of Aylesford