THE Green Party has called for urgent action to improve school crossings in York.

Andy D'Agorne, Green Party candidate for Fishergate in this week's election, said that although there was a programme of safety measures outside York schools there were still many places where children have to cross busy roads without a "lollipop lady" crossing patrol or pedestrian crossing.

He said: "Safe crossings are a key part of safe routes to school that can cut the 'school run' traffic and make walking to school safer and more attractive.

"The job of a crossing patrol is undervalued and has become more dangerous. Impatient drivers have been known to shout abuse at them and put lives at risk to avoid being delayed on their journey.

"The Green Party would explore ways of extending the number of school crossing patrols to more locations and, if needed, launch a recruitment campaign for crossing patrols."

The party highlighted the hazards faced by children and parents at the busy junction of Thief Lane and Green Dykes Lane.

It has called for a crossing to be provided there.

Labour leader Dave Merrett said: "We have a major programme of providing safe routes to schools and we spend substantial six-figure amounts each year. Obviously it takes time to get around all the schools in the city."

Liberal Democrat leader Steve Galloway said: "We will all support any initiatives that result in the crossing patrol vacancies being filled, but parking difficulties need to be addressed much more urgently at most of our primary schools."

Conservative leader John Galvin said he supported improved safety for schoolchildren, but crossings could not just be "pepper-potted" around York.

Coun Galvin said he would like to see more crossing patrol people, but understood the problems recruiting them.

Updated: 11:04 Monday, April 28, 2003