'They're like lemmings': Safety fears over how Cardinal Newman College students are crossing the road
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Yousuf Motala, who represents the Preston City division on Lancashire County Council, is calling for traffic lights to replace the existing zebra crossing close to the entrance of the sixth form establishment on Manchester Road.
He told the Lancashire Post that young people leaving the college appeared to have little regard for their own safety – nor for the trauma and trouble they would cause any motorist who collided with them as a result.
County Cllr Motala also warned that some parents were making the situation worse by parking on zig-zag lines or even fully on the pavement, causing an obstruction and forcing other pedestrians to walk in the road.
He says that a traffic light-controlled pelican or puffin crossing would at least break the continuous flow of students swarming over the existing zebra arrangement and the surrounding width of the road – often without even looking.
“When I was at school, we were taught – and I still do this now – [to] stop at a crossing regardless, just in case. But here, it’s like they own it.
“Nowadays, they get on their phones as soon as they are out of the building and the world goes by – and they’re not bothered. They are literally like lemmings.
“At least [at traffic lights], they’d have to stop and press the button to stop the traffic. At the moment, [drivers] are getting frustrated – you have to keep edging. “The other day as I edged forward, this student just ran across the road in front of me – not even on the crossing – with no thought to anyone.
“There’s going to be a serious accident,” warned County Cllr Motala, who has represented the area since 2009 and says that the situation has only got worse throughout that time.
He added that parents should be re-educating their children about road safety as they become young adults – but were instead often guilty themselves of posing a risk by their own reckless parking.
“My biggest issue is safeguarding the students, but also the community – drivers don’t want to get [prosecuted] if anything happens.”
Nick Burnham, principal at Cardinal Newman, told the Post that the college was actively engaging with Lancashire County Council.
“As a very popular city centre college, it is inevitable that the local roads can be busy at peak times.
“The college has had a longstanding dialogue with Lancashire Highways [at County Hall] as to the most appropriate crossing for Manchester Road. The most recent advice remains that the current crossing is the safest for students, pedestrians and drivers.
“We are always looking to enhance our local environment and have shared our suggestions with both Lancashire Highways and our local councillors,” Mr. Burnham added.
The Post understands that Lancashire County Council has this week been surveying the area as part of the process to determine whether it meets the threshold for an upgraded crossing.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We are always working to improve safety on our roads, and take the concerns raised by Cllr Motala very seriously.
"We are aware that there are a lot of students crossing the road at this location, particularly at the start and end of the day, and we have carried out a video survey to gain a better understanding of the situation. We have also contacted the police to make them aware of the parking obstruction issues.
"We will be reviewing the video footage shortly in order to inform any further actions."
Lancashire Police told the Post that they advise anyone concerned about highway obstructions to report them online or via the non-emergency number, 101.
Story via the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS)