Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has given a cautious welcome to a new report by Reading Borough Council which recommends that a zebra crossing should be installed on Dee Road, for the benefit of the safety of pupils at English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School and St Michael’s Primary School.
Alok was joined by local parent Emma Simpson-Holland, who began the petition calling for a pedestrian crossing and Tilehurst Councillor Sandra Vickers in offering a cautious welcome, but there continues to be concern that the Council will not deliver on its promises.
The report makes a reference to existing flashing warning signs outside the two schools, which the Council promised to have turned on at a meeting Alok attended with representatives from both Dee Road schools more than a month ago on 28th January. However, to date the lights have not yet been turned on.
The report also casts doubt on whether a crossing will actually be installed, with the report stating that “Outside of the schools times there is no demand for crossings within the area of the school gates” and that a pedestrian crossing “may lead to a worsening of traffic conditions”. The report also discusses the impact that a pedestrian crossing would have on parking.
Alok Sharma said: “I cautiously welcome this report, which appears to promise that a pedestrian crossing on Dee Road will be installed. If this happens, this will be a significant victory for parents who have fought long and hard for action to be taken.”
Alok continued: “There is however serious concern that although the Council seems happy to want to take credit for this announcement about installing a crossing, the Council's action so far has left much to be desired. It has now been more than a month since the Council promised to have the flashing lights outside the schools working and still nothing has been done. What we do not want are just more empty words from the council, we want positive action and we want it fast.”
Emma Simpson-Holland said: “I am obviously very pleased that the Council are now promising to install a crossing, but the report is a little confusing and far from clear cut. What is still not clear is where this crossing will actually be located and when this will actually be installed. I think the Council needs to set out a clear timeline for when it plans to hold the consultation and when work will take place to install the safety measures we need.”
Councillor Sandra Vickers said: “We need action on a crossing to be taken quickly. St Michael’s School is expanding and so the traffic situation is only going to get worse. This is a time for action and not another chat about parking. What are we more concerned about, where people can park or the safety of our children?”