Slade Green Traffic Calming

Giving Us The Hump! Bridge Road and Slade Green Road are used by all sorts of traffic. Double-decker buses, heavy goods' vehicles and even large mobile cranes. When the issue of speeding vehicles was highlighted by a couple of accidents, Bexley Council decided to give residents the hump. Not liking the look of what Bexley Council was proposing, and the amount of money it would cost, we attended the public consultation at the Howbury centre and asked instead for a couple of strategically placed clearly marked speed cameras. Problem solved! Or at least it should have been. However, the Council's response was, "We don't do speed cameras, we only do road humps." Why is that one wonders?

Negative Factors: The fact is road humps are not popular, they are not the best solution to speeding vehicles and they are not uniform in their effect on different vehicles. They cause additional pollution and wear and tear on vehicles and impediment to emergency vehicles, plus they make driving uncomfortable. They are dangerous to ill and injured people travelling by ambulance and can quite easily have motorcyclists off of their bikes. None of these problems can be attributed to speed cameras which would have sorted out any speeding issues without any of the negative factors.

More Parking Problems - Won't Curb Speeding! Instead, we have to put up with more congestion and more parking problems, which are the end result of a scheme that is next to useless and will not calm traffic across the board. The priority give-way systems in Slade Green Road will either make you stop altogether, if there is a car coming in the other direction, or allow you to speed on through at sixty or seventy miles per hour if you wish on the wrong side of the road, if there is nothing coming from the other direction. The traffic cushions do nothing except slow down old ladies, who are already going slow enough and the chicanes just encourage the kids to test their racing skills.

Does Anyone Know What They're Doing? Who authorised this scheme and what experience do they have in traffic planning? Apparently the scheme was authorised by Counsellor Francis and when asked if Counsellor Francis had any experience in the areas of Traffic Planning, Mr Bob Clark of Bexley Council's Traffic Planning Department, said that this was, "Not a requirement." So, why is somebody who is 'not required to have any understanding' about traffic calming, signing a cheque for £300,000 to pay for such a poorly thought out and useless scheme that has met with a high degree of public ridicule and disapproval? And why, bearing in mind that we have to foot the bill, can we not have the sensible, most effective, most popular, fairest and most convenient option? The one WE want!

Accidents Waiting To Happen: The scheme favoured and implemented by Bexley Council is not only pretty useless, it is also hazardous, with cars racing to beat each other at the priority give-way schemes, driving down the middle of the road to avoid speed cushions, and with creeping kerbstones jutting out into the road. At the junction of Forrest Road and Bridge Road there is a chicane that the buses and lorries can hardly get through without mounting the kerb and, quite frankly, anyone could hit it at any time, causing an accident that would be a direct result of the fact that Bexley Council have implemented something more in keeping with a racing circuit, than a public road. Michael Schumacher may have no problem negotiating this kind of thing, but what about Mr Bloggs in his juggernaut, or old Mrs Mopp at night, with her fading vision? And yes, for years we have had massive lorries and even large mobile cranes working their way through the heart of this community to get to where they have needed to be.

Roundabout In The Wrong Place: Then there is the new roundabout going in at the junction of Bridge Road and Slade Green Road. This is a completely unnecessary waste of money, as there was absolutely no problem with the existing junction. The fact that this turning is used by heavy good's vehicles means that a roundabout is smack in the middle of their turning arc, consequently, they cannot get around the corner unless they run right over the top of it. How many years have we been asking for a roundabout at the junction of Bridge Road and Northend Road to assist access in and out of Slade Green and alleviate traffic flow around Howbury lane, Whitehall lane, Newbery Road and the Nursery? A roundabout here would have been an extremely beneficial thing to spend our money on, and yet, all we have had from Bexley Council regarding this matter, is a completely inadequate and inept response, whilst at the same time, they fritter money away, in an equally inept fashion on things that are either useless, retrogressive, or that nobody wants. No change there then!

Consultation A Farce! Mr Bob Clark of Bexley Council's Traffic Planning Department did remark that the public were consulted. Actually, to put the picture more accurately, we were not consulted so much as told that this is how it's going to be, like it or not. A few alterations were made to parts of the scheme that were completely idiotic to begin with after the general public were 'consulted'. For example, there was originally a proposal to put a hump right across the road outside this property. The road outside this property is a no through road serving several warehouses, including the main Boots' warehouse, a large builders merchants, a large steel / machine shop company and many smaller firms. Meaning there was absolutely no need for a road hump in the first place and if it had been put in we would have been putting up with all sorts of additional noise and trailer banging as a result.

Given No Choice! The bottom line is we were not asked what we would like! We were not given a choice! We have not got what we wanted and we are £300,000 worse off. We have more parking problems as a result! We have more congestion problems as a result! We have more discomfort for the motorist as a result and more motorcyclists have been thrown off their bikes as a result! We have still had as many accidents and an actual increase in motorcycles accidents. We have had at least one very serious accident right in the middle of Bridge Road as a result of speeding (despite the humps), and several accidents at the rather nonsensical roundabouts that Bexley Council saw fit to waste public money on. All in all, not very clever! But then Bexley Council aren't it seems, and not the only ones!


A Letter to Bexley Council regarding the scheme's proposal, pointing out the many disadvantages and complaining
about the fact that this will, once again, cause problems for the residents and degrade our quality of life.

Letter 1

RE: PROPOSED TRAFFIC CALMING MEASURES FOR SLADE GREEN

01/09/03

Dear Mr Clark,

We are writing to protest about the proposed traffic calming measures for Slade Green and to point out that, in the opinion of most people, these ideas beggar belief. This scheme is not at all welcome by the majority of us of that live on Slade Green and many people are now completely fed up with having our hard earned money wasted on unpopular and retrogressive traffic schemes that cause additional congestion and pollution and have a high 'pain in the backside' factor. These kinds of measures are not appropriate for what are prime access routes in and out of Slade Green. We did not want the obstacles in Howbury Lane and we do not want them anywhere else either. We would therefore like to request that Bexley Council remove the obstacles in Howbury Lane and abandon its proposal to use this type of scheme in and around Slade Green. If you want to slow traffic in any particular place, public opinion, as has already been pointed out to Bexley Council, has a preference for clearly marked speed cameras and not speed humps or kerbstone appendages and other such obstacles.

We have asked Bexley Council on several occasions to implement a roundabout at the top of Bridge Road, which would be a good idea, and the fact that this idea, and other useful ideas, have been completely ignored and yet an idea like this proposal for Slade Green can be given serious consideration says a lot about current traffic planning in the eyes of many people. Current policy and most of us that live and work in and around Slade Green seem to be in complete disagreement with what is needed and what constitutes a good idea in the first place. As has already been pointed out to Bexley Council, we do not want this kind of scheme. We do not like to be held up unnecessarily, we do not like the additional pollution, noise, or the inconvenience, that results from this type of scheme and we do not like the discomfort of road humps. We would in fact prefer that if the local authorities want to 'drop plop' on the roads that they do it in the potholes and on the sections of carriageway that need resurfacing. As we have said, we understand that there is a need to slow traffic in some places and are happy to have clearly marked speed cameras if deemed necessary. If you do not have the jurisdiction to deploy clearly marked speed cameras, in our opinion, this is where you should be focussing your effort.

It is hard to see how Bexley Council can be considering road humps for routes that are used by articulated lorries and commercial vehicles. Are Bexley Council not aware of the noise caused by trailers bouncing over the humps? It is bad enough with the pot-holes, never mind putting in additional humps and bumps.

With regard to a twenty mile an hour speed limit, it will not be possible to enforce this thoroughly, and the end result is that it will be largely ignored by persistent offenders anyway and will therefore just further inconvenience the ordinary law abiding person who is not causing a problem to begin with.

Presumably the proposals relating to pedestrian islands in roads that are so narrow they don't even need them anyway, would have to be accompanied by yellow lines to prevent vehicles from parking either side as there is not enough room for both. Haven't we got enough parking problems without Bexley Council making matters worse? The idea is to simply cure problems, not create additional ones in the process. What is the point in fixing a fault and putting another fault in its place? The ideas proposed for Slade Green are, in most people's eyes, completely unnecessary and a complete waste of our money, but more than that, they are collection of haphazard measures, and that will just degrade the quality of life for the people that live and work in Slade Green. We therefore are not in agreement with the scheme's implementation and request that you abandon its implementation in favour of something more agreeable.

Yours faithfully,
D.J. Tarrant

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