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Sudbury: Mum calls for help to protect pedestrians

17:58 20 November 2012

Rebecca Riess with her daughter Natasha, aged 2

Rebecca Riess with her daughter Natasha, aged 2

Archant

A MOTHER who has spoken out about the problems pedestrians face from vehicles has been backed by town representatives.

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Rebecca Riess, who lives on Acton Square in Sudbury, says she is often ‘intimidated’ by traffic as she walks around the town with her two young children, Natasha, two, and Joseph, four.

“There are a lot of narrow pavements in Sudbury and when you are walking around with children you can feel very vulnerable when cars pass you at speed,” said Ms Riess, who contacted the East Anglian Daily Times after being shaken by an incident last week.

“I was walking down a section of narrow road with a pushchair and a toddler and, rather than wait for me to get off the road, the car driver just kept coming and we had to cower against the wall,” she said.

She added: “I just feel something has to be done to make drivers more aware of the impact they are having on pedestrians.” The issue of pedestrian safety is something that has concerned Sudbury Town Council for some time, said councillor Lesley Ford Platt.

She said: “There are a number of bad areas around the town where the pavements are narrow. We have been told by the county council that introducing bollards and railings is impractical and expensive, but what price a child’s life? If making the roads harder to negotiate and introducing 20mph zones make things safer then that’s what we should do.”

Ms Riess’s fears have also been picked up by the Sudbury Society, an organisation, which focuses on development and planning issues in the town.

Committee member Stephen Thorpe said the society wants to see a town environment where everybody can use the streets.

He said: “The Local Transport Plan for Sudbury prioritises pedestrians and cyclists but at the moment they are down the pecking order compared with cars and lorries.

“Many of Sudbury’s streets are too narrow for people to pass each other, let alone stop for a conversation, while traffic rushes past too close for comfort or safety. For cyclists getting about Sudbury would be less stressful and hazardous if they were not being pressurised by speeding drivers.”

Mr Thorpe said the Sudbury Society was a campaigning to introduce 20mph speed limits in town and has been disappointed by reports that highway chiefs at Suffolk County Council have currently put a freeze on implementing new speed restriction zones.

The society is collecting ideas on how Sudbury’s roads could be improved and made safer, and would like to hear from people.

Anyone with ideas is asked to e-mail the society at stephenjthorpe@btinternet.com.

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