A RADICAL idea is being put forward in a bid to make a hectic Poole road junction safer for pedestrians.

Traders and councillors want to consider creating a “diagonal crossing” on Parkstone’s Ashley Road – along the same lines as one introduced at London’s Oxford Circus.

Many pedestrians already cross diagonally at the junction outside Waitrose, rather than wait up to three-and-a-half minutes to get across two roads.

Poole council will be consulting over how to spend £1million on improving Ashley Road under a grant intended to promote pedestrian use and public transport.

Newtown councillor Brian Clements said people crossed diagonally where Ashley Road met Richmond Road and Churchill Road, despite barriers designed to stop them doing so.

Cllr Clements said: “It’s important to recognise that the ‘desire line’ is diagonal for many people and they do it even though the crossing isn’t designed for it. The sensible thing is to make it safe for them to do that.”

He said it was vital that traders and residents were listened to when the consultation begins in the coming months.

Richard Wilson, chairman of Ashley Road Traders Association, says people were tempted to cross diagonally because the green man at each crossing was only on for around five seconds and people then had to wait a long time to cross a second crossing.

“I do think this could be made a lot safer,” he said. “You see it happening every day.

“I’ve seen a person in a wheelchair nearly get knocked over and an old lady almost get knocked over.”

Cllr Marion Le Poidevin of Branksome West ward said: “You can’t cross sides in the time the green man is on.”

She said Ashley Road’s crossings should respond quicker to pedestrians pressing the buttons to cross.

And she would like to see a 15-second countdown so people knew how long they had to cross.

Traders and councillors also want action over the widely-flouted “no left turn” sign for traffic approaching Ashley Road from Churchill Road. They say it either should be enforced or scrapped.

Cllr Le Poidevin said she had raised the issue with police and the local Safer Neighbourhood Team.