LETTER: Make pedestrians’ safety a top priority

Chesterfield traffic lights demand. Farid Abdi at th road in Chesterfield with dangerous crossing.
Chesterfield traffic lights demand. Farid Abdi at th road in Chesterfield with dangerous crossing.
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Transition Chesterfield sympathises with Mr Abidi, guest of the Ibis hotel, and his difficulties in crossing the road to get into town (‘Worker calls for crossing’, DT March 30). Read the story here.

In 2010, our group did a pedestrian audit of the town centre and identified, amongst other things, the problems for pedestrians wishing to access the Ibis hotel. We recommended a safe, direct and well marked pedestrian access from the hotel to town.

Most of Chesterfield town centre is an attractive, pedestrian-friendly environment which makes it a pleasant place to shop and visit. The attractive, largely car-free market areas are one of Chesterfield’s best assets.

However many parts of Chesterfield are not pedestrian-friendly and some of the key walking routes from the main residential areas into town have a number of problems associated with them. In many cases the problem is a conflict between cars and pedestrians, with cars often given priority. Pedestrians are forced (by railings, inconveniently sited crossings) to walk out of their way and often will take risks to walk the desired, most direct route. Rather than trying to restrict pedestrians to a route that is convenient for cars, the strategy should be to make pedestrians the priority and facilitate their safe movement in the most direct, desirable route.

In many new developments the needs of pedestrians are neglected or not given sufficient priority. These range from poor site layouts, blockage and diversion of public rights of way, and lack of safe crossing points, with pedestrian access often an afterthought, even for the new Queen’s Park leisure centre. There are many opportunities to improve pedestrian access at no extra cost by better planning, as well as doing some low cost measures like speeding up crossing times on certain pedestrian crossings.

We hope that both the borough and county councils can work together better in future to ensure that pedestrian needs are given higher priority, and as a minimum everyone in Chesterfield, including Mr Abidi, can cross the road safely.

Lisa Hopkinson

Secretary of Transition Chesterfield