Greens call for action on dangerous pool crossings

Traffic by roundabout crossing

Acting on concerns and complaints from residents, Exeter Green Party is calling on the Labour leader of Exeter City Council to take urgent action to ensure that dangerous and inadequate crossings near St Sidwell’s Point pool, the bus station and Job Centre are made safe.

Heavitree councillor, Carol Bennett, and Dr Andy Ketchin, Green Candidate for Newtown & St Leonard’s ward, have written to Councillor Phil Bialyk pressing for Exeter City Council to work with Devon County Council to support a redesign that enables pedestrians and cyclists of all ages to arrive safely and easily at these key city centre facilities.

Results of an Exeter Green Party survey show that residents find crossing roads in this area difficult, dangerous and often requiring long detours. Many have said they will not even allow older children to travel to the pool on foot or by bike.

Green councillor Carol Bennett said:

“We’ve listened to residents and sought out their views and it's clear they feel they are taking their life in their hands when trying to cross the roads near the pool and bus station. Labour have spent millions on a new pool, but have ignored the fact that most people arrive on foot or by bike and are greeted with a complete absence of safe crossing points. This dangerous situation is a serious accident waiting to happen.”

The City and County Councils have recently collaborated on the production of a draft Walking and Cycling Plan for the city and Greens are increasingly concerned that both councils are missing an opportunity to put right a failed transport and planning design in the heart of the city.

Dr Andy Ketchin said:

“We have asked Cllr Bialyk, as leader of the Council, to publish the risk assessment and to sit down with Devon County Council to remedy this unacceptable situation. Labour must stop passing the buck to Devon County Council. We need genuine collaboration between both Councils and urgent action so everyone can feel safe when they walk or cycle to these key city facilities.“

Quotes from residents about using the crossings near St Sidwell’s Point

General

Whilst a great aspiration to design a ‘passive house’ swimming school the public realm design and  approach around it are ill-considered and very unfriendly to pedestrians. Main access approach is  clearly considered as via the car park/bus station and not the residential areas around the site.
I'm really frustrated because I can't leave my older children go to the pool by themselves. The cars  don't stop at all, on the contrary they accelerate coming from the roundabout and there are no lights,  bridge, zebra crossing or anything to protect them. I myself have been waiting several minutes  before I've managed to cross despite the fact that I was walking with a stick; drivers don't care. We  cannot leave the safety of pedestrians up to the good intentions and good manners of drivers.  Pedestrians are the maximum priority. I pay my taxes like everyone else, Why am I at the bottom of  the priorities on the streets? We are failing our children can when even new infrastructures don't  take them in account.
It’s a nightmare to cross here.
Cars come speeding through the roundabout and it's often uncertain where they will go. Combine  this with the long time it takes to wait for the crossing by the hotel and it often take me 5 mins to  walk about 100 metres!
Exeter traffic is far too directed towards motorists.
I visited recently, and found it is still easy for vehicles, and awkward on foot or bicycle. The traffic in  general isn’t breaking any speed limits, but drivers have an urgency and determination to hurry up  that makes it hard to decide whether to cross or not. 
I am definitely in favour of making these crossings safer for pedestrians
I have seen people running across between the traffic - I think a proper crossing would be a great  improvement, especially for children, people with pushchairs, etc.
I’ve had several near misses on these dangerous crossings
I have accompanied my child’s primary school class as a volunteer when walking to the pool and  back (from Ladysmith Junior School) and we all found the crossings hairy. My older children (high  school age) attend teen gym and swimming sessions at SSP, and I worry about them crossing the  road. They are sensible kids but you can’t trust the vehicles - I have seen them!
I always end up walking further than I need up Paris street to feel safe when I cross the road. So  changed my route to use Cheeke st but still feel like I am taking my chance and always grip my 8  year olds hand when we cross.

Cheeke St

These crossings have been dangerous for decades. It is impossible to second-guess  whether traffic  will be turning into Cheeke Street from the roundabout. Of all the roads I cross in Exeter Cheeke  Street by the Western Way roundabout is the one with most risk and uncertainty attached.
Very dangerous crossing given the number of children going to and from the pool. The stairs [from  the swimming pool] go straight down toward the road and cars have no reason to slow or be more  vigilant. Difficult to know which cars are coming off the roundabout and you almost have to run across if one exits the roundabout unexpectedly. Needs better planning and crossing point.
I’m a fit and active 70 year old and I find it very difficult to cross that road. Drivers are focussed on  negotiating the busy roundabout and don’t take account of pedestrians. There will be a serious  accident one day (I hope it’s not me!) 
I had to cross Cheeke St this morning and it only reinforced my and other people's concerns about  the junction. I am genuinely surprised that there hasn't been an accident there (as far as I am  aware). I should add that generally I am definitely not a nervous or hesitant pedestrian! 
I volunteer at the hospital on Friday afternoons and have to use the crossing to get to the bus  station at around 5pm. At this time on Fridays the traffic is very heavy and travelling very fast. You  take your life in your hands trying to weave your way through - often two lines of - traffic rushing  home on Friday evenings.
Cheeke St. is the worse of the two. One relies and the goodwill of motorists more often than not a busy times, but with two lanes misunderstandings can arise. I am fairly quick and agile, but I  definitely would not want to cross these at busy times were I not.
The buses and post office staff zoom around this area, there are students everywhere and the road  is wide and difficult to see past a waiting bus. The traffic off Paris st roundabout is also very fast  and crossing towards the Triangle car park is like running a gauntlet.

Cycling

In addition I'd like to see better cycle lanes, and priority for buses in this whole area. I often cycle to the swimming pool and think the roundabout is hugely unsafe for cyclists
I cycle around this area for work fairly regularly and the whole area is awful for both pedestrians and  bikes. Its pretty awful as a driver as well. The whole area needs rethinking for pedestrians.
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