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Expanding Cardinal Newman College working with Lancashire County Council to improve safety at Manchester Road

Posted on - 8th July, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Education, Preston News, Roads, Transport
Father and son pictured at the crossing where 10-year-old Talha was struck on 14th July, 2023
Father and son pictured at the crossing where 10-year-old Talha was struck on 14th July, 2023

A zebra crossing in Preston is to be redesigned and relocated – a year after a young schoolboy was launched into the air while cycling over it.

The accident – which saw then 10-year-old Talha Hussain tossed several metres into a nearby side road – happened on a crossing point on Manchester Road, outside Cardinal Newman College, last July.

As the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) reported at the time, it strengthened decade-long calls for the facility to be replaced with pedestrian traffic lights.

Read more: As Preston Youth Zone starts to go up, what future for former Tithebarn pub?

Fortunately, Talha – who escaped with severe cuts and bruising after being clipped by a van when he had almost reached the safety of the pavement – has since made a full recovery.

However, Lancashire County Council is now proposing to move the crossing three metres from its current location – and also lengthen the zebra stripes so that it can accommodate more pedestrians at the same time. The move comes ahead of the expansion of Cardinal Newman in September.

Prior to Talha’s collision, local complaints about the crossing had centred around the volume of college students flowing across it in a constant stream at peak times – with the area’s county councillor likening them to “lemmings” who failed ever to look up from their phones.

But Yousuf Motala says he and residents are unimpressed by the proposed changes, which will see the crossing shifted slightly further away from the staggered junction of Arno Street and Larkhill Road, in which Talha landed – and a ’raised table’ introduced at that point to further slow traffic on the 20mph route.

He told the LDRS that widening the crossing risked creating “an even bigger problem” – because it would supercharge, rather than stem, the flow of pedestrians – and fuel the frustration of motorists left waiting for a gap through which to proceed.

“It’s the people who live here who have to put up with this- and the new crossing won’t make the problem go away.   There will be further altercations between drivers and students.

“What happens when an emergency vehicle can’t get through because people are swarming all over [the crossing]?  We’re going to end up with a fatality.

“Only a signal-controlled pelican crossing will [satisfy residents] – that’s what the 200 people who signed a petition [about the situation] wanted, because they have had enough,” said County Cllr Motala.

However, Nick Burnham, principal of Cardinal Newman College, said: “We are pleased to be working with Lancashire Highways in order to improve the roads and pedestrian areas in the vicinity of the College campus. This collaborative project will be a welcome update not just for the College, but also our local community.”

Lancashire County Council is consulting the public on its blueprint for the site, with comments being invited until 12th July.  Documents published on the authority’s website explain the reasons for the revamp.

“The requirement for the zebra crossing improvements, which is to be widened to 10 metres from its current 7.2 metres width, is due to the expansion of Cardinal Newman College, which is opening a new building in September in order to accept a greater number of students.

“The increased width will allow a greater number of pedestrians to cross safely at the same time, reducing the delays to traffic and improving safety for all road users.

“The provision of a raised junction table has been requested by Cardinal Newman College, due to serious accidents involving pedestrians at the junction (recorded between 2020 and 2023) and on the adjacent zebra crossing.

“Although the junction of Manchester Road and Larkhill Road is within an existing 20mph zone, the visibility of the junction is poor and it is located between cushions that are currently over 80 metres apart – and the existing cushions are not fully visible on the northbound approach due to a gradient and a large number of parked vehicles.

“The proposed junction table is to be provided in the interest of safety of all road users.”

To contribute to the consultation, email tro-consultation@lancashire.gov.uk, quoting reference LSG4/894.19269/AFR.

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