Safety first please

AS MANY readers will be aware, there have been three pedestrian fatalities in the past six weeks on the A27 between the Stockbridge and Whyke roundabouts. The three men killed have been clients of Stonepillow.

On behalf of the trustees, I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to their families and all others involved in these tragic accidents.

There is a fundamental issue of safety on this particular stretch of road running around the southern edge of our city.

At the Stockbridge roundabout a footbridge has been built which has made it safe for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists to cross the A27.

At the Whyke roundabout, further east, there is no safe crossing for pedestrians or cyclists.

Stonepillow supports local community groups such as the WECA (Observer, February 2, page 1) calling for a footbridge at the Whyke Roundabout but realises this will take time to build. In the meantime, urgent safety measures such as special warning signs, surfacing and better lighting could be quickly put in place at this roundabout.

Another relatively low-cost but very effective measure would be to construct a pedestrian/cycle path, with lighting, along the south side of the A27 between the southern exit from the Stockbridge footbridge, eastwards past Queens Avenue and the Church of Latter Day Saints (where a path already exists) to join Hunston Road where it meets the Whyke roundabout.

This new path could also be properly accessed from the Chichester Canal A27 underpass where the wide towpath emerges safely on the southern side.

We would appeal to the Highways Agency and WSCC to urgently construct the new pedestrian/cycle path joining the two roundabouts on the south side of the A27 and immediately introduce the safety measures described above at the Whyke roundabout.

On police advice, where possible high-visibility jackets and safety briefings are already being given to individuals regularly crossing the A27 between Hunston Rd and Whyke, but this is surely not enough if more deaths are to be avoided.

Clare Apel

Chairwoman for and on behalf of the trustees of Stonepillow