TRANSPORT Scotland will carry out a survey to see if traffic lights are required on the Forres bypass.
The decision was taken by Transport Scotland planner Ken Aitken following today’s meeting at the Tolbooth with MSPs Richard Lochhead, Douglas Ross and David Stewart, Network Rail communications manager, Stacey Lynch, local Moray councillors George Alexander and Lorna Creswell, and Forres community councillors John Guthrie and Eleanor Hayward, to discuss pedestrian access to the new train station and Waterford area of Forres.
Mr Ross, Mr Stewart, Mr Alexander and Mr Guthrie called for action ahead of construction of the new Forres station, due for completion next October.
Ms Lynch anticipates an increase in rail services on the Inverness to Aberdeen line, meaning more passengers crossing the bypass from Forres on foot for the station.
It was hoped that Network Rail and Transport Scotland would incorporate a new pedestrian crossing in the adjacent road designs but, after hearing from Ms Lynch that the rail manager will only be improving footpaths on either side of the A96, the meeting accepted this would be the responsibilty of the executive agency.
Mr Aitken ruled out an overhead crossing at the site due to insufficient space and roadside conditions.
Acting Forres Community Council chairman John Guthrie pleaded with Mr Aitken to ignore Transport Scotland’s statistics for the current crossing which report one nonfatal pedestrian accident in 27 years.
He said: "Why can’t you just put traffic lights up to make sure there are no injuries or fatalities?
"There will be a massive increase of people crossing to get to the station and Waterford.
"I was a statistician for the RAF – I know that you can use statistics to prove any point you want.
"The statistics don’t count near misses – I can’t stress enough how dangerous that road is!"
Mr Aitken replied: "Surveys have already been carried out and all crossing points measured – the current figures are not that high and not even half of that which merit a controlled crossing. One accident in 27 years shows that the current crossing is not dangerous.
"I understand your concerns but the evidence is not there.
"Statistically, controlled crossings result in more accidents, tail end shunts, nearby – that is a documented fact.
"There are other places in Scotland with a higher need and we have a limited budget.
"However, Transport Scotland are responsible for assessment so I am happy to organise one using national guidelines.
"We will report back to Forres Community Council in three or four months with the results."