Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Safety fears over Beatles crossing

The stars of the West End musical Let It Be recreate the Beatles's famous Abbey Road crossing
The stars of the West End musical Let It Be recreate the Beatles's famous Abbey Road crossing

Tourists flocking to one of Britain's favourite musical landmarks to recreate the Beatles' Abbey Road crossing could see the addition of a "lollipop lady" to their holiday snaps.

Westminster Council has raised safety fears over the "thousands and thousands" of people who visit the zebra crossing in St John's Wood, north London, made famous by the band in 1969.

In some cases, fans are putting themselves at risk of frustrated drivers who often struggle to make it over the crossing because of the constant stream of pedestrians attempting to recreate the image.

Buses carrying tourists can also cause traffic chaos by double-parking or parking on yellow lines.

Westminster Council said it is discussing options to manage the busy traffic flow, including the possibility of employing a lollipop lady or man.

A spokesman said: "Safety concerns at the crossing are being discussed and we are looking at the options.

"We're looking at what the best thing is to do. The council is, to some extent, responsible for keeping people safe."

Westminster City councillor Lindsey Hall said the crossing has always caused a problem.

"It's a residential area and it's not geared to receiving thousands and thousands of people - so it's quite hard to get some tangible solutions," she told The Daily Mirror.

"Obviously we don't want to be spoilsports, we are really proud of our musical heritage.

"I've seen huge double-decker buses parking on double yellow lines right outside the studio, causing total chaos to traffic and causing danger to people trying to get their photograph.

"It would be good to have somebody there permanently."

The discussions emerged as the stars of the West End musical Let It Be posed for their own photograph on the crossing, exactly 45 years after the album cover was shot.

A Westminster City Council spokesman added: "Local Abbey Road ward councillors raised their residents' concerns about the number of tourists spilling in to the road and traffic near the crossing at the height of the summer season, and put forward various suggestions, asking the city council to review pedestrian safety and crowd management.

"However, no proposals have been agreed by the council, nor the review completed."

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