Friend in Need charity director calling for common sense in Barnet Council's crossing review

Times Series: John Wilks, director of the Friend in Need community centre in East Barnet, is urging the council to fully consider the full spectrum of pedestrians before taking any decisions John Wilks, director of the Friend in Need community centre in East Barnet, is urging the council to fully consider the full spectrum of pedestrians before taking any decisions

A charity director is calling on Barnet Council to listen to the needs of elderly and disabled residents during its review of the borough’s pelican crossings.

The authority is in the process of assessing all of Barnet’s automated crossings with a view to removing any it can to save maintenance cash and improve traffic flow.

Some charities have raised concerns that removal of any signals could be a disaster for more vulnerable members of society, who rely on the ability to cross the road safely.

John Wilks, director of the Friend in Need community centre in East Barnet, is urging the council to fully consider the full spectrum of pedestrians before taking any decisions.

He said: “Reviewing is one thing but taking away is completely another. It is these changes that can make a difference to people’s lives. It wouldn’t be sensible - you’re taking away someone’s ability to cross the road.

“Many of those using our centre are elderly or infirm and it is these groups that will be most affected. If you’re going to live a fulfilling life into your old age you need to get around.”

Last month, Age UK Barnet chairman Julia Hines labelled the plans, proposed by cabinet member Councillor Brian Coleman, as “unsafe”.

An online petition opposing the review, approved by Barnet Council’s cabinet committee on February 20, has gathered nearly 400 signatures.

Opponents to the scheme believe the authority is placing the needs of motorists ahead of pedestrians and dozens of community figures, including head teachers and charity leaders, signed an open letter to Cllr Coleman urging him to reconsider the plans last month.

When contacted by the Times Series on Wednesday, the Totteridge representative hung up the phone.

Cabinet papers, however, reveal that the council plans to first identify possible locations for crossing removal before carrying out consultations and impact assessments in each case.

Council officers will identify which crossings, if any, will be removed, though a final decision is not expected for some months.

Mr Wilks recently wrote to the authority on behalf of his charity, which meets at East Barnet Baptist Church, in Crescent Road, and says he hopes his views will be heard.

He added: “We will see what form this review takes but I remain hopeful that common sense will prevail and the council will retain the borough’s crossings.”

Comments (4)

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10:02am Wed 28 Mar 12

baronsmirnoff says...

You can get rid of many without any problem, just stand in any road and watch people cross many will weave between the traffic in sight of a crossing and not use it then walk passed it afterwards, this is all groups regardless of age and ability
You can get rid of many without any problem, just stand in any road and watch people cross many will weave between the traffic in sight of a crossing and not use it then walk passed it afterwards, this is all groups regardless of age and ability baronsmirnoff

10:58am Wed 28 Mar 12

BarnetTrader says...

Perhaps Coleman wants to bring in a Jay Walking offence - get rid of the crossing and then fine everyone who does not cross at any of the remaining designated places! Fantastic revenue stream, this time aimed at pedestrians!

Seriously - is the cost of changing a few light bulbs so much that we have to continue to trash our borough as he has done by removing the parking meters?
Perhaps Coleman wants to bring in a Jay Walking offence - get rid of the crossing and then fine everyone who does not cross at any of the remaining designated places! Fantastic revenue stream, this time aimed at pedestrians! Seriously - is the cost of changing a few light bulbs so much that we have to continue to trash our borough as he has done by removing the parking meters? BarnetTrader

6:59pm Mon 2 Apr 12

Dr Julia Hines says...

The policy is calling for all traffic light controlled crossings to be reviewed, in the hope of removing them & possibly replacing them with zebra crossings or mini-roundabouts. The crossing on Oakleigh Rd was removed despite concern from the local councillor & residents, and an acknowledgement by Barnet Council that it was difficult to cross safely.
The policy is calling for all traffic light controlled crossings to be reviewed, in the hope of removing them & possibly replacing them with zebra crossings or mini-roundabouts. The crossing on Oakleigh Rd was removed despite concern from the local councillor & residents, and an acknowledgement by Barnet Council that it was difficult to cross safely. Dr Julia Hines

12:51am Wed 4 Apr 12

OhWiseOne says...

The signal controlled crossing at Oakleigh road/High Road Whetstone was ill conceived when put in place - it caused a traffic nighmare far worse than before it was installed.
The signal controlled crossing at Oakleigh road/High Road Whetstone was ill conceived when put in place - it caused a traffic nighmare far worse than before it was installed. OhWiseOne

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