A public question at last night’s (Wednesday) Isle of Wight full council meeting (catch up here) raised some interesting debate about the “perception of danger”.
A written public question from Anthony Pendleton explained how as a pedestrian regularly crossing the road at the junction of Hunnycross Way and Riverway (the small roundabout between Sainsbury’s garage and Lidl) he found the crossing dangerous.
Mr Pendleton said he understood this junction had received Government funding for improvement and asked what the IWC’s plans were to make this a safer crossing.
Ward: The junction is not dangerous
Contrary to what councillors in Newport stated later in the meeting, Conservative cabinet member for Transport, Cllr Ian Ward, said he believed,
“The junction is not dangerous.”
He said there has only been one incident – resulting in a slight injury – in the last five years, which was a rear end shunt between two cars. Adding that there had only been four accidents at the junction in last 21 years.
Ward: It’s more a perception than reality
Cllr Ward went on to declare that a signal controlled crossing cannot be installed safely at the junction and therefore a programme to improve crossing facilities there does not feature in the grand scheme of Newport road improvements.
He finished by saying,
“I know people do feel it is dangerous, but it’s more a perception than reality.”
Ward: We are not an administration that wastes money
Later in the meeting during the discussion about wellbeing being included in placemaking (a motion from Cllr Jones-Evans, Ind) Cllr Andrew Garratt (LibDem) said he had listened to Cllr Ward talk about danger being matter of perception rather than reality, and that if someone perceives a crossing to be hazardous, it has an impact on their wellbeing.
Cllr Ward replied by saying they had to balance reality with perception,
“We are talking about public money that we are spending on someone’s perception. Where do we draw the line?
“We are not an administration that wastes money.”
Price: Let’s make the road safe
Newport North councillor, Cllr Matt Price, who explained he drives past that junction every day questioned the data that was being relied on. He said,
“You’ve only got to drive there between 8.30-9am, when you have to stop to let young people cross the road safely right on that junction.”
He went on to suggest a solution to the problem,
“Put railings either side of the junction to stop people crossing on the roundabout and move the crossing further up to fuel station.”
He said that as a “departure from the standard”, it would not be a costly option.
“Let’s make the road safe.”
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