The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports;
“A Hollywood actress has hit out at transport bosses over an “unsafe and unhealthy” crossing used by hundreds of primary school children every day, despite a campaign first highlighting the problem five years ago.
Olivia Williams, known for her roles in An Education and The Sixth Sense, says the light timings at the crossing between Harwood Avenue and Enford Street are “completely illogical and detrimental to the needs of the pedestrians”.
Her point was backed up by Labour group leader Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, who said “the new traffic light timings are designed to make life easier for cars at the expense of pedestrians”.
Ms Williams has been at the forefront of the campaign to make the crossing safer since 2009, having first become aware of the problem when her young children began attending a nearby school.
But despite the vocal campaign, pedestrians are still forced to compete with the bustling traffic from vehicles in Marylebone Road.
The crossing is at its busiest between 8.45 and 9am, as parents and their children try to cross from north to south to get to St Mary’s Primary School.
“People trying to get into work on time at nine o’clock in the morning will push children into the road because they are trying to cross on the red man and the children stop,” said Ms Williams.
She added: “The person who has set those lights has never attempted to cross the road and if they did, then they have a malicious desire to make life for pedestrians as difficult and unsafe and unhealthy as possible.”
The Wood & Vale initially investigated the crossing in late 2009, following a petition with signatures from more than 800 residents to improve the crossway.
Transport for London (TfL) did increase the light timings briefly, but then shortened them again – leaving many pedestrians unable to cross in one journey.
“We feel quite strongly about being able to cross the street to go to school in one go,” said St Marylebone Society chairman Gaby Higgs, who has recently reinvigorated the campaign for a safer crossing.
Campaigners believe solving the problem need not be difficult.
“The solution is that they put the timing to be advanced between 8.45 and 9am on weekday mornings, that they make it possible for a reasonably, able-bodied human being to walk briskly from one side of Marylebone Road to the other without stopping, in one move,” said Ms Williams.
She added: “The priority and consideration should be given to the children.”
A TfL spokesman said it has an ongoing programme to review signals across London to meet the demands of all its users.”