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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Urgent plea for safe crossings to protect young lives in East London

“It’s a huge roundabout and with young children you don’t want to give them an extra 10 minutes to walk so this is the only [direct] way.”

Young families are risking their lives every day because they have to run across a busy dual carriageway to get to two local primary schools in East London. Terrifying footage captured last month (December 2023) shows three school kids and a parent with a younger child in a pushchair hastily running across Royal Docks Road in Beckton, Newham while another family can be seen in the distance waiting to cross the same road.

Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for Royal Docks Road, which has a dual carriageway and leads to Gallions Roundabout. Rob Dean, chair of governors at Gallions Primary School, says a lack of pedestrian crossings in the area is forcing parents and children at the school and at Winsor Primary School to use more dangerous routes to get to the two schools.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “When you look at the road crossing, the biggest surprise is why is there not a safe crossing anyway? No one should think they might have to run in order to safely cross a road.” He added: “If you’re familiar with that roundabout, it’s enormous. Technically you can walk all the way around it, but it will probably add 10 minutes to your journey as you have to cross five roads which all have crossings.

“It’s a huge roundabout and with young children you don’t want to give them an extra 10 minutes to walk so this is the only [direct] way.” Mr Dean along with a group of school governors and staff at Gallions Primary School, are urging TfL to implement one ‘before somebody gets hit’.

The area outlined in red is where families have to cross to get to school Credit: Google

He said: “[Cars] shouldn’t be going super fast, but we all know there are crazy drivers around. If a picture tells 1,000 words, that video tells a lot more.” James Asser, deputy mayor and cabinet member for environment and sustainable transport at Newham Council, said there needs to be more safe crossings in the area as existing ones are ‘no longer up to the job’.

Cllr Asser said: “The area around Gallions Reach has changed a lot in the last few years, and there are far more people who need to use this route. The existing safe route is no longer up to the job, and we need more safe crossing points in this area, especially for all those now using this route to get to the local primary schools.”

He added: “I, and my councillor colleagues for Beckton, have spoken to those leading the campaign for a safer crossing route, and we are supporting them in getting this in place. Although this isn’t a Newham Council road, we will be working with the local schools campaigners and TfL to get new, safer crossings in place as quickly as possible.”

A TfL spokesperson told the LDRS: “We’re determined to reduce road danger across London and have been in contact with the Chair of Governors of Gallions Primary School and the local ward councillor. We will be organising surveys and carrying out investigations on the problems at this location to determine the next steps.”

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