June 20 2013 Latest news:
Else Kvist, Reporter
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Each day children are running for their lives or pulling each other away from lorries and cars at a “dangerous” junction near a school.
That is according to teachers at Rokeby School in Canning Town, who joined forces with two London Assembly members on Friday to call on Newham Council and Transport for London to reinstate traffic lights.
A ‘green man’ was only maintained at one of four crossings at the junction between Barking Road, Beckton Road, and Hermit Road, following its redevelopment before the London Olympics – and even that has not been working since September, according to campaigners.
As this newspaper joined them at the junction we witnessed how boys from the secondary school, with 900 students, dodged cars as they tried to make it across.
Rokeby headteacher Charlotte Robinson said: “It’s staggering, every day children come to school and tell of near misses, and of how they just saved someone’s life by pulling them away from a car or lorry.
“It’s fortunate there has not been a fatality yet.”
The lights are said to have removed to improve traffic flow to the A13 slip road after the roundabout at Canning Town was pedestrianised, as part of a multi-million pound development.
Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff said: “It was incredibly bad planning and hundreds of children’s lives are now put at risk on a daily basis.
“I urge Newham Council to stop dragging their feet and work with TfL to redesign the crossing with children in mind.”
Mr Boff and Jenny Jones said they had to come down after Newham Council and ward councillors had failed to sort out the problem after the school and residents started a campaign to reinstate lights in September.
Ms Jones said: “It’s taken a Green-Conservative alliance to try and sort this out.”
A spokesman for Newham Council said: “The safety of our residents is our biggest priority. We are working to introduce a green man signal at the crossings.”
A TfL spokesman confirmed it had received a proposal. He said: “Our job is to check that any new traffic lights would work and approve them.
“Any delay would be down to the council who are in charge of the road.”
On the other side of Rokeby School children are also skipping in and out of traffic as they try to cross Barking Road.
Assistant headteacher, Sarah Lawson, is in charge of the school’s travel plans.
She said: “This is what children do to get to the bus stop on the other side because the nearest crossing at Newhaven Lane is too far away.”
A spokesman for Newham Council has since said that the council is working on implementing an additional crossing closer to the school.