After 21-year wait, campaigners hail opening of pedestrian crossing

Something to celebrate at last ...
Something to celebrate at last ...

It has been more than 21 years coming but on Friday it became operational – the new pedestrian crossing on Offham Road, Lewes, at the junction with Prince Edward’s Road.

Members of Lewes Living Streets, Offham Road residents, parents and schoolchildren were there at 8am to welcome the new crossing with a glass of bubbly (for adults only).

Living Streets member Michael Cahill said: “It’s been a long time coming and a lot of community effort.

“It was due to become operational at the end of March this year but a two-month delay is nothing compared to 21 years, so we’ll forgive East Sussex County Council on that one.”

This day also marked the end of Walk to School Week – an attempt to reverse the trend and get more children walking to school for the sake of their health, the chance to socialise and to learn how to look after themselves.

In 1970, 70 per cent of primary school children walked to school nationally. In 2016 it was only 48 per cent.

Campaigners say pedestrian crossings help, as many children and parents worry about crossing busy roads.

The opening is just round one according to the Offham Road Residents Action Group.

A spokesperson said: “We are delighted that crossing has come to fruition, but this is one of three proposed for Offham Road by East Sussex County Council in 2006. And we want to see progress on the other two.

“We also want to see a reduction of the 40mph speed limit at the top of the road to 30mph and 30mph to 20mph at the bottom. In particular the new crossing should be the start of 20mph going into Lewes on this road. This is something that residents here have long campaigned for and quite understandably with the narrow pavements here.”

The two extra crossings on Offham Road are at the ‘Piggy Steps’, the long steps up from Blois Road and then up to Wallands School. Also a crossing is wanted at the Hill Road/King Henry’s Road junction.

The initial focus is on the Piggy Steps crossing. A petition signed by local residents and many parents at Wallands has been submitted to the county council to keep up the pressure to secure this.

Lewes Community Speedwatch also operate on the Offham Road near the new crossing and will continue to report drivers who exceed the current speed limits to the police.

Lewes Speedwatch co-ordinator Kevin Moore said: “We often catch drivers going at more than 40mph and last September caught one doing 53mph on this 30mph roadgoing into the town!”