On Friday 18 March 2011, the leader of the UK Green Party Caroline Lucas joined a protest staged by group of parents and school children, calling for safer crossings on the busy Surrenden Road in Brighton. Shockingly, protest organiser Fiona McWilliam said a councillor had told her that council policy was to wait until there were sufficient causalities.
I made this video of the event.
Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas is also MP for Brighton Pavilion and resident in the ward. She said Green Councillor Amy Kennedy had been campaigning for a crossing for years.
Caroline Lucas said: "We need a crossing here urgently beause literally thousands of children are trying to get to the schools here. You can just see as you stand here it's an absolute nightmare. Parents would dearly love to send their kids to school by walking but they're afraid to. You really take your life in your hands if you cross this road. No change from the council, we've been pressing for a 20mph limit, still no action from the council. That's why we really do need to change the council in May, make sure there's more Greens in it."
Over 30 parents, children and Green Party campaigners staged the protest. Originally the plan had been to levy a voluntary toll on motorists, but organiser Fiona McWilliam said she had decided that was too dangerous. They contented themselves with waving placards instead. Many of the motorists hooted their support.
Mother of five Fiona McWilliams said "we literally take our lives in our hands every morning". She has written numerous letters to the council, and had a letter from one of the councillors who said council policy was to wait until there had been several accidents, but that she had recent news the council has now changed their policy assess the risk to children.
Transport spokesman for the Brighton and Hove Green Party Ian Davey said: "Residents are calling for a 20mph speed limit and introduction for a safer crossing. We're calling for something to be done now."