Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Martin School pedestrian safety to be discussed

Hendon Times has the details.

Campaigners fighting for greater pedestrian safety near a school are encouraging people to show their support at a council meeting.
Barnet Council’s area environment subcommittee will discuss plans for safety measures near Martin Primary School in Plane Tree Walk, East Finchley, on Tuesday, October 16.
Supporters of Walksafe N2 have been campaigning for the introduction of a three-way traffic light at the junction at Church Lane and East Finchley High Road and a pedestrian crossing on Creighton Avenue near East Finchley High Road.
The group would also like the council to improve road signage and markings near the school as well as re-introduce a speed limit of 20mph in Church Lane.
Roger Chapman, of Summerlee Avenue, is a governor at the school. He said: “We’ve already had 2,300 signatures on our petition, but we want people to come along to the meeting to demonstrate to councillors that there is a lot of support for this campaign.
“There have been some near misses on these roads. These changes would make conditions a lot safer for parents, children and other pedestrians.”
The meeting will take place at 7pm after the residents’ forum at Avenue House, in East End Road, Finchley.
Colin Rogers is the East Finchley representative on the committee, and I am his substitute.

I am not a big fan of the residents forums, or the AEC's (though the latter are a little better) as forums can't discuss policy, and often leave residents annoyed, disappointed, and perhaps even disillusioned. I hope the committee will be able to deal with this issue seriously, and I got Cllr Dean Cohen, the Cabinet member, to confirm in the last Full Council meeting that the Council were considering a 20 mph zone for Church Lane.

There are other issues as well, such as signage, the walk through Plane Tree Walk, the junction of the High Road and Creighton Avenue etc. We have had real difficulty in getting the Council to engage with this campaign properly. Soon after my election, when this was a very live issue, the Council removed the railings outside the School, without consultation as part of their "decluttering" of the street scene. We vigorously opposed this, and got the railings re-instated. In fact I spoke about it in the Business Management OSC. But I was concerned that they were doing this whilst consulting with the parents. Worst of all, when we asked about the criteria they were using to justify the removal of the railings, they stated that they were not outside the school! I am glad that the council listened though, and I am glad that this is being reviewed. I hope that we can get a positive outcome. I have never seen such a committed and hardworking community group either, the Walksafe N2 campaign are remarkable, and I hope we can get this done for them.