Thursday, 2 March 2006
Mill Road Speeding
On Monday this week, I represented the residents of Mill Road at a Hunts Traffic Management Committee meeting. Speeding on Mill Road is a real problem and despite efforts by the Parish Council, the authorities take no notice. So we stepped up a gear and presented a petition. The Committee accepted our petition and will report back in June. We even made it into the local newspaper.
I was allowed 3 mins to represent our cause at the meeting and here is what I said:
"Mill Road is a small ‘B’ road joining Buckden to the Offords. It is a deceptive road. Straight in parts but with close corners. The road leads down from Buckden to the River Ouse where the road narrows to cross the river and then crosses the main east coast railway line. Speeds on this stretch are very high and we know that 80/90 mph is regularly attained. Even at the national speed limit, this road is dangerous.
"The issue of speed combines with the layout of the road and its residential properties to create a fearful situation. There are some 30 households on the road, and at least 15 children. Your attention is needed because of the proximity of houses and residents to the edge of the road with absolutely no protection.
"The accident rate on Mill Road is high and particularly significant. Accidents over the past 5 years number in double figures. Over the years, there have been plenty of vehicle write-offs, many injuries and even loss of life. The danger on Mill Road is, however, out of proportion to its accident rate for two important reasons:
"Firstly, it is a “rat run” and many of those who drive on it do so with the specific intention of achieving a short cut. Faced by the river and railway crossing and the fear of further delays, they are mentally tuned to going as fast as they can to make the short cut worth while. They use the road with the specific intention of driving very fast.
"Secondly, it has become a highly popular weekend race track for young men in the area. Weekends come with the misery of high speed races taking place. Cars and motorcyclists driving deliberately fast, two abreast. The turns and straights of the road provide a challenging experience to young drivers.
"Living alongside this stretch of road is nerve shattering. Operating to the front of the house requires unbelievable care and attention. Unloading shopping or just getting the children into the house safely is a worrying procedure. Moreover, even with the speed limit as it is, we have figures to prove that it is not possible to avoid collisions should one resident pull out the moment before an on-coming car comes into view. Children fear to walk on the footpath into the village due to the wind blast and the speed of traffic entering the village is of great concern, especially since the primary school is the first thing they meet. It is not just the drivers of these cars who are at risk, it is the residents who live along the road and the people from the surrounding villages who use the pathway for recreation and access.
"We know that you have considered safety on this road. The Parish council have raised it in their joint funding bids many times but to no avail. It appears that the lack of deaths on the road is a bitter-sweet factor. Sweet that no-one has died recently, but bitter because we fail to raise the number of points we need to get your attention.
"We are asking you to reconsider earlier dismissive judgments. We ask you to understand the local factors at work and to look again at the speeds being reached. The level of fear among residents and users is very high, and with good reason when cars regularly plough into their fences and even their living rooms.
"Please take us seriously, and give us some support and some protection before an innocent resident is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Please act before a tragedy occurs. Listen to the local people. We have alerted you to this problem and none of us want to have a death on our conscience."