Fight for a zebra crossing for an East Molesey school could end on Friday

The fight for a zebra crossing outside of an East Molesey school could end tomorrow (23 February) as residents voice their views on the proposal.
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A long-running battle to improve safety for children outside St Lawrence Junior School has reached the final proposal stage.

Church Road and Vine Street consists of a four-way junction, without traffic lights, which up to 300 children and parents have to cross every day on the school run.

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A new zebra crossing could be installed onto a raised table on Church Road near to the Vine Road junction to enhance the existing pedestrian route towards St Lawrence’s junior school.

Road notice for proposed school Zebra Crossing. (Photo: Chris Caulfield)Road notice for proposed school Zebra Crossing. (Photo: Chris Caulfield)
Road notice for proposed school Zebra Crossing. (Photo: Chris Caulfield)

Jim Davidson, a parent and now school governor, said: “This has been my life for three and a half years. It’s a legacy for the children for the future and the people of Molesley. It’s my passion.”

Jim started a petition in summer of 2020 after his daughter had a near-miss by a speeding car on her walk to school. A car ‘came out of nowhere’ and had to make an emergency stop.

There have been many reports from the school of near-misses involving children and cars.

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Four accidents resulting in at least one ‘slight’ pedestrian injury have occurred on the four-way junction, according to data from 2022 on crashmap.co.uk. Three took place in 2017 and another in 2018.

It’s hoped the raised table on the crossing will encourage drivers to reduce their speed, improving the safety of pedestrians.

The petition reached nearly 1,100 signatures from parents and residents, with local councillors and MP Dominic Raab getting involved in the campaign.

Jim added: “My background is in design and safety as well as risk management. You can look at this case and say: ‘This is an accident waiting to happen’.”

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Residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of a zebra crossing in a public consultation by Surrey County Council (SCC) in June 2023. Nearly 75% of 977 respondents agreed to implement a zebra crossing.

One respondent said the raised area already slows traffic down sufficiently for pedestrians to be able to cross safely.

When asked to what extent it is parents’ responsibility to ensure the safety of their children crossing the road, Jim said: “I think everyone has a responsibility. I think the parents have the responsibility to aid their children to cross the road safely.

“But I think that the council also has a responsibility to create as safe an environment as possible when there is an obvious hazard. I think that steps need to be taken to give children and parents a safe place to cross the road.”

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Disgruntled locals also argued a zebra crossing would be ‘very detrimental to the residents of Church Road’.

One response said: “They will lose all their on- street parking if a zebra crossing is imposed and some residents are already compromised on use of their own drive as a result of the last set of road works. These residents and any visitors or tradesmen would be forced to park on Wolsey and Vine Road.”

Jim reasoned there is never going to be a perfect solution for everyone and appealed for locals to look at the bigger picture. “From a safety point of view, it’s a very small price to pay to create a safe environment,” he said.

“I’m very much hoping that common sense will prevail and we will get the crossing after three and a half years.”

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Where Jim has previously criticised the council for being reactive rather than provocative, he said the council has listened to the campaign’s concerns and ‘proactively’ developed a crossing plan.

Ultimately, Jim said the ‘proof is in the pudding’ of whether the pedestrian crossing is approved.

Residents can take part in the online survey at: https://www.surreysays.co.uk/environment-and-infrastructure/church-road-molesey-zebra-crossing/

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