The inquest into the three unfortunate deaths on the A27 near the Whyke Roundabout has confirmed what was already known, that this is a lethal crossing for pedestrians. When the Chichester Access Group (CAG) was contacted in 2009, by the Highways Agency, to discuss the proposed design for the footbridge, the hazardous nature of crossing there was accepted. However, after the cancellation of the project, and following the three subsequent fatalities in the space of one month, the Highways Agency has deemed the footbridge to no longer be a priority and does ‘… not represent value for the public purse’.
CAG believes the Highways Agency is missing the point. There is a serious access issue for the communities on either side of the A27 and for everyone who may need to cross at this point. The heavy traffic flows on the dual carriageway make this a dangerous crossing even during the daytime.
The A27 cuts across school catchment areas and so there are families who live south of the A27 whose schools are to the north of it. How, therefore, does this route meet any safe journey to school criteria? The elderly, those with mobility or visual impairment, or parents with young children, are unlikely to be able to get across this road in sufficient time for it to be regarded as safe. It is a minor miracle that no child has yet been one of the fatalities and I am sure no-one would want to wait for this to happen, before something is done.
The A27 is a very busy road and has effectively cut off the lakes in North Mundham as a recreation area, for those living north of the A27. For those living south of the A27, it makes cycling or walking to the Whyke area considerably more arduous. The Donnington Road footbridge, canal footpath underpass, or the Bognor Road footbridge, all involve very circuitous routes. All three of these crossings are well used but none of them addresses the existing and latent demand of cyclists, pedestrians and disability scooter/wheelchair users for a safe crossing at Kingsham.
CAG would encourage Mr Andrew Tyrie MP and those councillors who hold a responsibility for this subject, to bring pressure on the Highways Agency to
re-instate this essential project.
Chichester Access Group