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Anger at crossing impasse

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By Euan Maxwell
Anger at crossing impasse
SAFETY CONCERNS . . . Moffat High Street

EFFORTS to improve the safety and accessibility of Moffat High Street have reached a stalemate.

Calls were made in July to establish more pedestrian crossings in the town centre after a 10 year-old boy was knocked down by a car at Church Gate – which resulted in leg injuries requiring emergency hospital treatment.

Following the incident, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s road safety team gave assurances to Moffat Community Council that new measures would be put in place to make the area safer for the public.

But Annandale North councillor Stephen Thompson has expressed frustration after being told by the council’s lead roads officer that a pedestrian crossing on the High Street is unlikely to be implemented any time soon.

Mr Thompson explained: “The officer said despite the case being made emotionally and evidence-based from the community, there’s not sufficient criteria to fit a pedestrian crossing on the High Street in Moffat at the moment.”

He was told by the officer that introducing a basic zebra crossing “would require no parking zig-zags, crossing points and would equate to the length of no parking for 40 metres”.

And the councillor was also informed at the meeting that the same judgement applies to a proposed pedestrian crossing at Park Circle too.

He added: “The risk of road safety issues doesn’t trump the wider issues and the technical concerns of the roads officer, which I’m not very happy about.”

Mr Thompson vowed to “keep pestering” the local authority but said there was currently “very little flexibility” on the matter.

He added: “I think it’s unreasonable to be so draconian, but that’s where it’s at.”

Furthermore, Mr Thompson said a 20 mph speed limit would not be introduced in Moffat until next year.

In March the council pledged to increase the number of 20 mph zones in the region – and calls for a lowered speed limit in Moffat were ramped-up in the wake of July’s town centre accident.

Giving an update on progress, Mr Thompson said: “The 20-mile-an-hour policy has been reviewed and basically, there’s not gong to be much happening until they finish off all the school 20-mile-an-hour limits across the region.

“I think about 70-odd have been done and about 20 are left to do – they’ll get that done first and I think all over the region everybody’s wanting more 20 mile-an hour limits.”

He pointed out that in the Scottish Borders, all towns are 20 mph zones and asked: “Why couldn’t we have done that here?”

The councillor confirmed it will be “into next year” before the reduced speed limit is implemented in the town.


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