Walkers and cyclists demand new crossing at hospital entrance

Published: 30 Aug 2012 13:000 comments

ENNISKILLEN woman, Tanya Jones, has asked Planning Service to give "serious consideration" to the need for a pedestrian/cycle crossing at the entrance to the new South West Acute Hospital (SWAH).

Tanya Jones wanting to cross the Irvinestown road near the hospital entrance.

Ms Jones, who lives close by to the new facility in Enniskillen, believes pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross the A32 are being put in a "perilous position".

Last week she wrote to the Planning Service in response to a planning application for an overflow car park at SWAH.

In her letter she has submitted that the inclusion of a pedestrian/cycle crossing should be made a condition of granting planning permission for the new car park.

A cycle/footpath has already been constructed along the A32 on the opposite side of the road to the hospital.

While welcoming this development, Ms Jones says the path ends "abruptly" just before the roundabout.

"It is then necessary for the cyclist or pedestrian to cross to the other side of the road. The two lowered stretches of kerb and gaps in the fencing on either side of the road are not aligned, but staggered by several yards, in a 'dog-leg' formation, forcing the user to cross diagonally and therefore spend longer on the carriageway," she explains.

"The combination of these obstacles, together with the level and speed of motor traffic along the road make it difficult, dangerous and at times impossible for pedestrians and cyclists to cross."

In her correspondence to Planning Service, Ms Jones has included an anecdote about how her husband, Martin, had last week encountered a father and two children, all on bicycles, who had been waiting for some time for a safe break in the traffic to cross.

"As it was clear that no such natural break would occur, Martin had to step out into the road, like a school crossing warden, and hold up his hand to stop the traffic and allow the family to cross," she describes.

"I understand that it is the stated policy of the Department of the Environment, the Department of Health and the Roads Service to promote walking and cycling, both for the health benefits to individuals and to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

"The construction of the cycle path is a step in the right direction in this regard, but will be useless without proper provision of a crossing facility. Such a crossing would be in line with best practice throughout the world and especially in those European towns and cities which have successfully reduced their proportion of journeys made by car and thereby benefited the health and well-being of their citizens."

Ms Jones believes also that the provision of a crossing would be "primarily of benefit to the hospital itself".

"If it were possible for staff, visitors and out-patients to travel to the site on foot or bicycle, the congestion, danger and pressure on car parking space would all be very significantly reduced," she says.

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