Fringe Box



Citizens Speak: Road Safety on the Portsmouth Road

Published on: 28 Feb, 2012
Updated on: 29 Feb, 2012

This week citizens speak on a really local issue, road safety in St Catherine’s, following the recent spate of accidents. Do residents think that there is a problem? What can be done? Who is responsible?

These are the views of some residents that live right next to the ‘black spot’ and others who have a particular role in road safety in St Catherine’s…

Lorimer Burn from Guildown (Community SpeedWatch Coordinator)
There always has been a road safety issue here. We have a short section of narrow road descending to a dip from both directions, and with a bend. There are no less than 11 junctions too, many with very poor sight lines. The cause of the problem is that drivers do not appreciate, until too late, that their speed is too high to safely negotiate this challenging section of road. 30 mph is often too fast if it is dark, there is heavy traffic, especially lorries, and vehicles are pulling out of bus stops and side roads. The results of the survey that the Village Association commissioned some years ago should be freshly reviewed by Surrey County Council. The responsibility always lies with the driver to drive at a speed appropriate for the conditions, but since so many drivers fail to do so, physical road design should be used to force a reduction in speed. If the County Council were to implement more of the recommendations from the report, this section of road would become very much safer. I appreciate that at the moment, SCC is under the strictest financial constraints for a very long time. However if a future accident results in a fatality – as unfortunately is likely – then this section of road will quickly receive the priority it needs. It will be bolting the gate once the horse has escaped though.
John Schluter from the Portsmouth Road
Absolutely there is a problem! Although there have been several attempts at traffic calming and despite the major roadworks several years ago, road traffic accidents still occur. I think excessive speed and the road layout are the main causes of the accidents. I am no expert but everyone has to slow down for roundabouts: maybe construct one at the “crossroads” of Chestnut Avenue and Turnham Close? I think those responsible are: The Highways Agency, Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council. As to what I expect to be done, I would appreciate at least a direct response rather than a standard package of “appreciate your concerns…. doing all we can…..always looking to improve” sycophantic drivel!
Sharon Taylor from Ye Olde Ship Inn
Yes, of course there is a problem. There has been for, at least, the last 23 years ever since I have been here. The main cause is speed. The drivers seem to forget when they come out from Guildford that they are still in a 30 mph limit here in St Catherine’s. They might have been frustrated by congestion in the town and then put their foot down as soon as they get the chance. I think they should try sleeping policemen, or rumble strips, as well as making the narrowing of the road more obvious, as was recommended in one report. I hold Surrey County Council primarily responsible but, of course the drivers themselves should be more aware. There is already a lot of police presence on the roads in the late evening, which is good. I do expect the authorities to take notice but previous campaigns have gone on for ages before anything was done. Somebody could easily get killed, most at risk are local pedestrians. I know that some of our customers don’t walk here for that reason. (Sharon is the publican at Ye Olde Ship Inn the scene of one recent accident and just yards from several others.)
Don Hunt From Devon Bank (Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator)
Yes, there is a problem. The road looks deceptively straightforward but the combination of the bend and the road camber by the bollards seems to be a problem. Some traffic simply moves too fast and drivers may not be aware of the danger. There are signs but they are the standard ones and are too easy to ignore. Installing an accident black spot sign might help – how many accidents have to be reported to get one? I wonder too if the speed warning sign at Rivermount is positioned too far from the danger/accident spot? I do expect the authorities to take some action now and wonder if the police have reported all the recent accidents to Surrey County Council. If they have then, surely, the County Council must act.
John Bull from the Portsmouth Road
Yes, there is a serious problem. Cars speed so fast and the sign by Rivermount seems just to have been a waste of money. The main cause of the accidents is speed combined with the bend and the traffic islands. The drivers come around the bend too quickly and then swing in to miss the bollards and loose control. I think they should try speed bumps to solve the problem or perhaps a speed camera is the only answer. I hold the council responsible, Surrey County Council. The police already have enough to do which is why I think a speed camera would be better. I do expect the authorities to act responsibly, yes. I really hope it does not take a fatality for someone to do something about it. Surely the police travelling to Mount Browne see the problem? Once a police officer himself misjudged the bend and grounded his vehicle on the island! I don’t let my 11 year old daughter play out the front because of the risk.

What do you think? Why not add your views to the debate answering the same questions asked of our interviewees:

  1. In light of the recent road accidents in St Catherine’s do you think that there is a road safety issue in the village?
  2. What do you think was the main cause of the recent accidents?
  3. What do you think should be done to reduce the number of incidents?
  4. Who do you hold responsible for improving road safety?
  5. Do you expect the authorities to take any notice of any concerns and take some action?

You can easily make your views known too. Please share your views by leaving the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below…

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