Road safety call after pensioner hurt in Chichester

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Residents have called on transport chiefs to improve pedestrian safety across the city following an accident which left an elderly woman seriously injured.

The accident took place at 11.45am on Saturday (April 2) as the woman, in her 80s, was crossing the road close to Litten Gardens in St Pancras.

Sussex Police said the accident involved a blue Mazda car and are urging witnesses to come forward. The woman was taken to Richard’s Hospital, although her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

The accident has since sparked fresh concerns about the speed of traffic in the area. David Souter, who was walking his dog when he came across the accident, said something was desperately needed to make crossings in the area safer.

“The medics were there for quite a long time and it took a lot of time to get her onto a stretcher,” he said. “I live in St Pancras and could see the traffic was at a standstill for two hours while police were doing lots of calculations on the road and interviewing people. It looked quite serious.

“It has raised a lot of questions around here. From Tozer Way to a bit further down towards town where the traffic goes in both directions, the traffic is always far, far too fast for a built-up area.”

Chichester city councillor David Siggs, who represents south ward, said: “The gyratory system has been known to be a somewhat precarious system for some considerable time.

“There were plans afoot to redirect traffic somehow although it never really took off. There certainly seems to be a requirement of more traffic control there. Pedestrian traffic lights at the St Pancras end I think would be beneficial. At times the speed can be quite fast and if you are not sprightly then you are taking your life in your hands.”

Mr Souter said although he did not necessarily like traffic calming, something was needed.

“If you imagine an elderly person living at Drayman’s Mews who wanted to go into Chichester to the shops, there is no real safe way of doing that. There are no pelican crossings at all until you get to the Hornet.

“To get across Needlemakers you have no crossing there, you have to take bit of a chance, it’s a very dangerous place to cross. All these things cost money and there needs to be so much research to identify them, but clearly there is a big case for some sort of traffic calming measures close to this system. Everybody here feels the same, we all have to walk into to Chichester so it affects us all.”

West Sussex County Council said: “An enhancement scheme was introduced in 2009 that saw some improvements in road safety, particularly for pedestrians, by widening pavements and upgrading the pedestrian crossing.

“Because of the nature of the area, which contains a busy A road, a balance has had to be found that reflects the challenge of maintaining through traffic without significantly increasing congestion, meeting the needs of local businesses and improving the environment for shoppers and visitors to the town centre.

“There are no current plans to introduce an additional safety scheme in the area, though we continually monitor the accident rate on all roads throughout the county and prioritise our road safety improvements to areas with the highest risk.”