SIR - The suggestion by your correspondent that a ‘zebra crossing’ should be constructed across Peak Hill Road into the Connaught Gardens would fail to solve the fundamental problem of separating people from moving traffic. It could never provide a safe and easy access for the elderly, the infirm, mothers with small children, those in wheelchairs and buggies for the following reasons:
1) Both of the existing sets of steps, down from the car park and up to the gardens, would still have to be negotiated but they are not directly opposite each other, being some 42 feet apart. To comply with established regulations, a zebra crossing would have to be at right angles across Peak Hill Road and provide a level pavement for waiting pedestrians on each side.
2) This would leave only enough width for one-way traffic and confine all vehicles through a narrow, single lane of more than 50 feet in length. There could be no actual control over directional priorities without traffic lights, which would create congestions similar to those now occurring regularly at the pedestrian crossing between the Esplanade and Church Street.
3) Creating a new zebra crossing in Peak Hill Road with traffic lights, extensive new pavements and a one-way system, would be the responsibility of the County Council and cost at least three times as much as a footbridge - if the County Council could ever find the money!
4) Such additional traffic hazards would do nothing to encourage more visitors to the Connaught Gardens - widely described as The Jewel of the Jurassic Coast - as they would simply add to the present difficulties of just getting there.
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5) However, an attractive footbridge of sympathetic design in keeping with Sidmouth’s traditional character, will provide a simple, direct and completely safe access to the gardens from Manor Road car park and so make it safer and easier for more of our residents and visitors to enjoy this splendid legacy of our local heritage.
Now that the proposal for Unitary Authorities in Devon has finally been abandoned, this Group is actively pursuing its interrupted campaign for the Connaught Walkway - a simple, appropriate footbridge providing a practical and safe access to the Connaught Gardens for everyone. We welcome new supporters. For information please phone (01395) 513917 or 516187.
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Sidmouth Millennium Walkway Group, Corefields, Sidford