Why a road safety initiative is frightening parents

Speed up as you approach a school –really?

Speed up as you approach a school –really?

The signs say ’30, 20 zone ends’ — you can see them in Blinco Grove, Hartington Grove and Hinton Avenue. The sign in the picture is in Blinco Grove, home to Morley Memorial Primary School.

Why are our streets still 30mph while streets on the other side of Cherry Hinton Road are 20mph?

The speed limit is changing throughout Cambridge, following last year’s citywide consultation on a change to 20mph, to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. That resulted in a public vote of confidence for changing the limit to 20mph in most residential streets.

The implementation of the 2omph project is being rolled out in four phases. The east area is being done now, and as part of their signage, the Council is installing signs like the one pictured.

But many Queen Edith’s residents have said the signs virtually invite cars to speed into streets such as Blinco Grove, Hartington Grove and Hinton Avenue. Ironically, these streets are used by vulnerable road users, such as children going to Morley Memorial Primary School – just the people the 20mph limit is intended to protect.

People are already reporting cars speeding up as they exit Cherry Hinton Road, egged on by the signage. One parent of young children has described it as ‘terrifying’ to have cars ‘belting down’ our roads, as they rat-run between Cherry Hinton and Hills Roads.

Queen Edith’s should be 20 too by next spring or summer, subject to the traffic regulation orders going through. That’s a long time, plenty long enough for an accident. It would be horrible if an initiative to improve road safety results in an accident because of the timelag.

I have asked the Council to address this unintended consequence. We hope they can come up with a solution.

New yellow lines to mark junctions

Cars parked on junctions is a frequent complaint. The Highway Code says, in its Waiting and Parking section:

DO NOT PARK opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space

However, this follows a section of fiercer prohibitions starting YOU MUST NOT, so the junction parking words are advisory only. A traffic regulation order for parking restrictons at a junction, followed by yellow lines, would be required to make it an offence to park there.

The County Council has identified several junctions in the Hills Road area and are proposing new parking restrictions which would do just that. These would be yellow lines around the junctions to prevent cars parking too close, blocking the view for traffic and pedestrians and in some cases, obstructing dropped kerbs.

Residents living close to the junctions should have received letters and plans of what is being proposed. This is an informal consultation: if there is general assent then the Council will proceed to advertise these formally. Here are the plans:

Edendale Close and Hinton Ave     Hills Ave and Cavendish Ave     Blinco Grove and Magnolia Close     Blinco Grove and Rock Road

How long does it take to paint a yellow line? Up to seven years in Conservative Cambridgeshire

Quizzing Cllr Tony Orgee about parking in QE

Quizzing Cllr Tony Orgee about parking in QE

Last December, Cambridgeshire County Council advertised a suite of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for parking restrictions in nearly 20 streets in Queen Edith’s – see previous post.

Many were intended to create some order out of chaotic commuter parking in the streets near Addenbrooke’s Hospital; a couple are to make school routes safer, eg Godwin Way/ Close.

Some of the proposals are ancient and pre-date most of the Queen Edith’s councillors: one proposal for Hinton Avenue responds to a petition presented to the County Concil in 2006.

The orders were advertised two months ago, coinciding with a broader review of parking across the south of Cambridge, the aptly named South Cambridge Parking Plan.

Consultations on the TROs and the parking plan both closed two months ago: the TROs on 17th December and the parking plan on the 21st December. Since then – a deafening silence.

The Council’s Highways officers can’t say what representations were received – it seems they haven’t yet read through them all properly. So the parking restrictions and the parking plan appear to have been … er, parked.

Meanwhile, many people in Queen Edith’s are asking me and other members of the Lib Dem Focus Team what’s going on … ‘When are we going to get our yellow lines?’

Cambridgeshire County Council held their full council meeting today and I took advantage of their public question slot to quiz the Cabinet Member responsible for parking. All he could tell me was that comments are still being ‘processed’, but he expects to be discussing them with local councillors in 2-3 weeks. So that’s something.

Parking Promenade

As I’d like Cllr Orgee to see just how clogged up with parked cars we are round here, I have invited him to come for a walk around Queen Edith’s and look at some of the most congested streets – and he’s accepted, so I’ll try and settle a day with him soon.

UPDATE: We have now agreed a date for our walkabout with Cllr Orgee: Wed 13th March.