A CROSSING island has been installed this week following a 20-year campaign by residents and councillors.
Campaigners, who completed their own survey to show a need, said the pedestrian refuge in Kingshill would help people get safely across the busy road and also help slow down traffic.
Swindon Council installed the £7,000 island after a temporary crossing proved a success earlier this year.
Coun Dave Wood (Lib Dem, Eastcott), who lobbied the highways department on the issue, said some people did not feel safe enough to cross before – and this move is a step forward to gaining a better installation.
He said: “It’s great it’s finally in. The residents have been campaigning for a full crossing on Kingshill for 20 years, and this island is the first step and first success in the campaign towards a full crossing.
“This will make a difference to quite a lot of people in the community: kids that are walking to school, older people, families, lots of people who are trying to cross this road.”
He said the council assessed the eligibility of the island in the late 1980s and in 1998, but it did not score highly.
However, officers’ minds were changed when group of residents and councillors conducted a survey last July, which showed the number of people crossing at peak times had rocketed.
A temporary island was installed earlier this year on Kingshill Road just below the junction with Clifton Street, mainly to test that larger vehicles could pass safely.
The permanent crossing is slightly further downhill, about 200 yards below the Clifton Street junction.
Coun Wood said he hoped the crossing would boost crossing numbers, strengthening the case for a full puffin or pelican crossing.
He said: “It’s a very complicated formula but the rule of thumb is we saw 75 people crossing in the hour during peak times, but we need more like 100 people per hour.”
However, he said that a full crossing would push carbon-dioxide levels above the recommended levels in the area, meaning the council would have to find a way to counteract this, such as by planting trees along the verges.
Joan Mortimer, of Clifton Street, a member of the Kingshill Area Residents’ Association, who helped with the community survey, said: “I think there will be far more people crossing now because they know they can go half way if they can’t otherwise get across safely in one go.
“And I think just the existence of that crossing will make drivers think the road is a bit narrower and they will automatically slow down.”