Pupils voice anxiety about crossing

CHILDREN at St Edmund's Roman Catholic Primary School at Bungay this week quizzed the police and councillors on the problem crossing right outside their school.

CHILDREN at a Bungay school questioned police and councillors this week about the problem cross-ing outside their gates.

And the enterprising group at St Edmund's Roman Catholic Primary School has launched a survey as part of a project to get something done about it.

The school's junior road safety officers, Lucinda Watts, Jemima Selwyn-Crome, Esmee Watts and Jack Smith, wrote to the Journal asking us to highlight the issue - a focus since a woman pedestrian was involved in an accident at the crossing in St Mary's Street in February.

They have compiled an incid-ent form for parents and anyone else who has seen a problem with traffic outside the school, an accident or near-miss on the zebra crossing. People can go into school to fill out a form.

The four told the Journal: "In our town we have been experiencing many problems with the traffic outside St Edmund's Catholic primary school and we have been discussing the matter of our zebra crossing since a recent road traffic accident which was attended by the police.

"One of the many problems with the crossing is that many cars don't treat it as a crossing and drive straight through it when people are trying to cross.

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"Some drivers, though, don't ignore it - it is just that they can't see it because the trees are covering one of the lights that signal the crossing. Also, we do not have a sign to notify drivers that there is a school, unlike the middle school."

They said some of the mothers of pupils at the school parked in the Wharton Street car park, and as they tried to get their younger children out of the car they put the older children on the pavement because they thought they would be safe. "But they can be wrong," they added. "As their child is waiting, some cars and lorries mount the pavement and could knock a child or even an adult over."

That is why they have come up with ideas to help the situation and why they met officials this week. They asked the Journal to do an article on their efforts - and we were pleased to oblige.

The junior officers, with the school's road safety officer Wendy Walpole, met town councillor Simon Thompson and community police officer PC Brett Butcher on Wednesday and gave a background talk about the problems walking from Wharton Street car park, and the many issues concerning cars having to mount the pavement as lorries took up space on the narrow road.

They talked about a road safety partnership that they had formed. Mrs Walpole and parents are to log incidents and report problems to Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council. And they asked searching questions, such as:

How often do police monitor the traffic problems?

Could the council cut down trees that obscured flashing beacons and signs?

Could the crossing be moved to a safer place?

Could a one-way traffic system be introduced?

PC Butcher took details of two lorries pupils had photographed parked on the crossing and promised to investigate.

Mr Thompson agreed a one-way system would be a good idea and presented a map of a proposal to be discussed soon at a full town council meeting.

Journal associate editor Terry Reeve said the children had raised a serious issue and praised their initiative. He said the Journal would keep readers up to date on the progress of their project.