Campaigning for Better and Safer Roads
What happened in Great
Safer Routes to School (SRS), is
part of Travelwise, financed by Staffordshire County Council’s Development Services.
A questionnaire regarding travel, but not allowed to mention road humps or wanting
to travel to school by car, was distributed by SRS,
to a specific group, i.e. school children, many of whom were non-residents.
To quote Chris Woodhead, ex head of OFSTED:
The problem is that today's geography curriculum could be a pamphlet written by
Greenpeace, so children end up learning just one side of the debate. They
are both underinformed and brainwashed. The
Sunday Times, 03/08/08, P9.
Most parents and residents found
out about the scheme only when the roads were dug up. However, following a packed
meeting between representatives of Development Services and
400+ very angry residents at the local
Community Centre during 2002, it was decided that a full Review of the scheme would take place.
A survey of the humps commissioned
by the residents, carried out by an independent Design Engineer at no charge, had shown many of
the humps to be at variance from the recommended legal requirements, the Council’s
Independent Survey concurred with this. One hump has had to be rebuilt three
times due to vehicle damage and a speed table rebuilt four times, (known as the
‘helicopter pad’), in an attempt to get them within specification. This was
not unusual throughout the village where the standards of construction were poor.
Severe flooding now occurs at several locations, due to water being unable to escape
as full width humps block gutters.
In contravention of Section
of The Highways (Road Hump) Regulations,
, no one from the Authority providing
the Ambulance Service communicated with or attended any planning meetings, thus NO consultation with this organisation took place.
As regards the
Zones, under Regulation
of the Local Authorities’
Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations
), by law there must
be a posting of notices in all of the roads concerned.
Again, this was not done.
signs are now obstructing
footpaths. Not that it makes any difference as excess traffic speeds
have been regularly
measured in the humped, so called
Zones as frustrated
drivers accelerate and brake hard from hump to hump. Traffic speeds in Great
Wyrley are now far higher than they used to be.
The faces of many humps are showing
wear with concave indentations into the surfaces due to the poor construction and
also more multiple crashes are happening at junctions ‘improved and made safer’
by SCC’s Scheme.
A ‘traffic expert from the County
Council’ spoke to the Parish Council about traffic issues in the village, on pedestrian
crossings, footways, public transport, etc. The ‘expert’ positioned a pedestrian
crossing in such a location that users are in danger. Buses standing at a
bus stop totally obscure the crossing and cars trying to pass are often unsighted,
creating ‘close shaves’ and furthermore a child was recently struck by a car (cuts
and bruising). A local Councillor now admits that 80% of people walking out of the
side street, which the crossing was specifically sited for, totally ignore the crossing
and jaywalk across the zigzag lines.
Even though they didn't send any
representatives to any of the Safer Routes to School meetings, Great Wyrley Parish
Councillors are calling for more ‘traffic calming’, (all the adjacent streets are
at present humped), at what they describe as a chaotic, extremely dangerous, A34 junction, ‘before somebody gets killed’
or ‘a serious accident takes place’. Is this anti-car rhetoric and phraseology
familiar? Neither Safer Routes to School nor the Road Safety Audit of
identified the junction as a problem.
In addition, SCC stated that
there had not been sufficient accidents in the Great Wyrley area, let alone at that
junction for anything to be done.
During March, 2008 it was decided that 10 humps would be removed and a further 10 full
width humps would be converted to speed cushions. Also, that there would be
an ongoing review for the rest of the scheme.