Quarry Bank mum calls for action after near-misses on school run

Stourbridge News: Jo Messinger with sons Zach and Adam. Jo Messinger with sons Zach and Adam.

A QUARRY Bank mum has called for a busy junction to be made safer for pedestrians after experiencing two near-misses while taking her children to school.

Jo Messinger said she is too scared to allow her sons, eight-year-old Adam and Zach, aged six, walk to and from Mount Pleasant School alone after a they were almost hit by a van.

The 41-year-old said that while most of the 15 minute route is on quiet back streets, it is the crossing at Thorns Road and the junction of Quarry Bank High Street that is a concern.

She recalled one occasion when a van that was turning right towards High Street suddenly performed a U-turn down the other side of Thorns Road, while she was crossing the road with the children.

Mrs Messinger continued: “Because the green man was showing, I assumed it was safe to cross the road."

She said the van stopped a metre away but the experience had left her shaken: "Your mind automatically jumps at what could have happened if the van hadn’t stopped in time."

The concerned mum said that there had been another close call since and added: “I wouldn’t allow my children to walk to primary school by themselves because the traffic moves so quickly, and I am not alone - other parents are fearful too.

"It made me feel scared, and really angry that someone ignoring the rules of the road could put our lives at risk. I wanted to do something about it, to try to stop it from happening again.”

Mrs Messinger, who works at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust, has teamed up with the walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, to call on police and Dudley Council to make the junction safer and stop motorists performing illegal U-turns.

Leader of Dudley Council, Cllr David Sparks, said he was aware of the problem: "One of the requests from the public has been to see whether its possible to re-time the lights so that there is no danger of people crossing the road when someone is doing a U-turn.

"We can't phase the lights to completely eliminate these dangers because of the number of movements and complications with the lights - even if we were able to synchronise the pedestrian lights with the traffic lights, this could lead to a false sense of security because drivers who are so irresponsible enough to do a U-turn in such circumstances will not take notice of red lights anyway."

He added: "I'm a local resident and a regular user of these lights as a pedestrian and a motorist and the only way to stop this unbelievably selfish and dangerous manoeuvre is to have a CCTV camera record the licence plate of these drivers but my understanding is that because it is a moving traffic offence, it is a police matter and the police have ruled out cameras.

"I would be in favour of cameras on this junction but we are limited to what we can do. I would hope the police would reconsider.

"We are looking at the timing of the lights and anything we can do we will but we can't have all the lights on red at the same time, every couple of minutes, as the junction would totally pile up."

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