11-year Arbroath saga ends as puffin pedestrian crossing location agreed

© DC Thomson
The area where the new crossing will be located

The green light has finally been given for work to begin on a £45,000 pedestrian crossing in Arbroath, more than a decade after safety work was abruptly halted on the busy town street.

Communities committee councillors have opted for a site on Keptie Street between Helen Street and Garden Street as the best place for the crossing, agreeing to site it within yards of the scene of a tragic accident which claimed the life of a town OAP last September.

The decision came after a failed attempt by one local councillor to defer the proposal for the investigation of other possible measures to slow down traffic.

Arbroath East and Lunan SNP councillor Brenda Durno suggested a 20mph speed limit and flashing lights should be investigated for the West Port stretch because of public concerns over the loss of on-street parking to make way for the new crossing.

The five-figure works will see footway widening in the vicinity of the crossing and lead to the removal of more than 25 metres of parking on one side of the road, and six metres on the other.

Fellow ward councillor, independent, Lois Speed, said: “I think this has gone on long enough and our residents are looking for some kind of resolve, but the right resolve.

“I agree it is important that residents, particularly blue badge holders, have access to amenities, but we should be putting pedestrians before others – especially the most vulnerable.”

Monifieth and Sidlaws SNP Councillor Sheila Hands said: “I can see why 20mph would be suggested, but in terms of the visually impaired or those with limited mobility that would not be helpful.

“I also take the point about parking, but it is not the be all and end all if parking is a little bit further away.

“Unfortunately people who we think might benefit from a crossing might not always use it, but what I am sure about is that the people who need to use this crossing will always use it.”

The Keptie Street decision brings an end to a saga stretching back to 2006 when a signal-controlled puffin crossing was approved by councillors for a site further down Keptie Street near its junction with Catherine Street.

Work on the project was suspended in spring 2007 over concerns about the crossing’s location.

Tragically, the issue reared its head again when 81-year-old local woman Barbara Stormont was knocked down by a van as she crossed the street in September last year, suffering severe injuries from which she later died in hospital.