Campaigning for Better and Safer Roads



What happened in Great Wyrley:

Damaged cushions
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 3 of The Highways (Road Hump) Regulations, Statutory Instrument 1996 No. 1483 , 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 20 mph Zones, under Regulation 6 of the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1989 (SI 1120 1989 ), by law there must be a posting of notices in all of the roads concerned.  Again, this was not done 20 mph signs are now obstructing footpaths.  Not that it makes any difference as excess traffic speeds have been regularly measured in the humped, so called 20 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 2002 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.

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