Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tower Hill Safety Campaign Update

We've been working with neighbourhood watch representatives and the local police on a project to prove the growing hazards at the Tower Hill/Walsall Road junction following last year's fatal accident.

On Thursday Jon Hunt went with Avril Child, whose daughter Sarah was killed last year, to present the findings to a meeting with senior traffic engineers.

We've been counting pedestrians and cars, checking speeds with police help and counting driver behaviour. All this followed the petition we collected of about 1,000 signatures calling for traffic speeds to be controlled at this junction - and other measures.

Our monitoring shows that in spite of there being two pelican crossings in this neighbourhood, most people cross on the unprotected crossing facing the Co-op. At the busiest time there can be 100 people crossing here an hour and 500 vehicles going through the traffic lights.

It shows that while there is a problem of speeding and illegal u-turns the biggest problem drivers pose is through jumping red lights. Dozens are doing this, especially during rush hour. But there's also quite a lot of evidence of speeding.

There weren't as many u-turns as we expected. That was a good thing because it turned out that every u-turn at this junction is highly dangerous - vehicles invariable are turning into pedestrians crossing the road. Several times our monitors saw elderly people using the pelican south of the junction have to be pulled back as cars u-turned through the green, pedestrian light.

We presented all this to senior engineers and they've agreed to investigate a number of steps to improve safety.

This includes testing a so-called "red" phase. This means that all vehicles would be stopped for a period of about 20 seconds to allow pedestrians to cross the unprotected crossings (and the south-bound crossing) more safely.

They'll also look at measures to deter drivers from attempting u-turns.