Petition calls for crossing to ‘reunite the forest’

Hundreds of residents demand safe route across 40mph road

Crossing petition

Matt Conway (left) and other concerned residents hand the petition to councillors Peter Barnett and Angie Bean, at the location in Woodford New Road where they want a pedestrian crossing installed

A petition has been signed by more than 250 people calling for a pedestrian crossing on a busy road through Epping Forest.

There is currently no crossing of any type for a half-mile stretch of Woodford New Road, despite many parents and children using it on their route to school.

Because the road divides the lower part of Epping Forest it is also often crossed by dog walkers and ramblers.

Walthamstow resident Matt Conway launched an online petition in November demanding Waltham Forest Council fund the construction of a pedestrian crossing that would “reunite the forest”. It is has since been signed by 257 people.

Speaking to the Echo on the day he handed the petition to two local councillors, Matt said: “I walk along the road with my two-year-old son and we don’t even bother trying to cross because it is too dangerous.

“It is a shame, on the other side of the road there is a beautiful glade, but you are put off from going there because of the road. It is 40mph and very difficult to cross.”

Woodford New Road, part of the A104, connects the North Circular with Lea Bridge Road and is used heavily by lorry drivers.

One of the main walking routes to Forest School, a private school in College Place with 1,300 pupils, crosses the road outside St Peter’s In The Forest Church. There is also a bus stop there.

Matt first suggested building a pedestrian crossing at this location two years ago but was told there was no money available. Now, with £30million being spent by the council on the Mini Holland cycling project, the freelance cameraman believes there is an opportunity to finally get something installed.

He said: “The council highways team has done tests already, they know it would be a good thing to have a crossing here.

“We are asking for a ‘toucan’ crossing, which is also designed for bicycles. Hopefully this will mean it can be funded using the cash from Mini Holland.

“The footpath that runs along here and continues through the forest is an ancient path, but you take your life into your hands when you cross this road.”

Peter Barnett and Angie Bean, councillors representing Wood Street ward, both accepted Matt’s petition on behalf of the council and said they would do their best to get the crossing funded.

“I am confident we can persuade the powers that be to fund it,” said Cllr Barnett.

The pedestrian crossing petition is available to sign online: