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‘If residents consider driving to school is safer, something is wrong’: councillor calls for action as residents shun ‘unsafe’ cycle paths

London Road
A new cycle lane has been installed on Wokingham’s London Road

RESIDENTS are shunning cycle paths built on London Road, as they feel they are unsafe.

Cllr Rachel Burgess (Lab, Norreys) raised the concerns which included drivers ignoring a no right turn at Whitlock Avenue, issues with three junctions and a lack of pedestrian crossings at a point needed by parents on the school run.

“Residents have raised these issues out of a sense of community safety as well as the desire to support walking and cycling, and they are right to expect the Council to address their concerns,” she said.

“They have not received a satisfactory answer for months and feel ignored.

“What is being done to address these concerns?”

She asked the question at a virtual meeting of Wokingham Borough Council’s executive, held online on Thursday, February 18.

Responding, Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, the executive member for highways and transport, said that the scheme had undergone a series of road safety audits conducted by independent experts.

“The Council is able reassure the residents that there are no immediate safety concerns with regard to the junctions of William Heelas Way, Whitlock Avenue, Frog Hall Drive and Priest Avenue with the London Road,” she said.

For the no-right turn, she said that officers have been working on a solution, but “it was not possible to incorporate any additional physical barriers to the right turn without causing significant problems for people turning right into Whitlock Avenue and/or pedestrians and cyclists crossing Whitlock Avenue on the London Road footway“.

New signage was being considered, and for the pedestrian crossings, only one had been removed and the council considered those that exist served the “vast majority” of families wishing to cross the road.

Cllr Burgess said that if residents conclude that it’s safer to drive rather than walk to school, there’s something wrong.

She asked Cllr Jorgensen to visit the area and meet with affected residents.

“Between us, we can help explain things more clearly … I would be happy to meet them,” Cllr Jorgensen replied.

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