Hitchin campaigners fight for traffic calming measures in the town
PUBLISHED: 17:47 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:47 11 March 2020
A number of concerned Hitchin residents are calling on Hertfordshire County Council to introduce traffic calming measures to a busy Oughton road – before a serious accident happens.
They say schoolchildren and the elderly are particularly at risk at peak times when attempting to cross Redhill Road in Hitchin, leading them to call for a zebra crossing or speed bumps to be installed in the road.
Spearheaded by Jacqueline McDonald, a Hitchin community campaigner, the group want to see a solution to issues that they say have plagued the road for a long time.
Jackie said: 'This has been an issue for many years now. For the 17 years that I have lived here, there have always been speeding and traffic problems along this road.
'It is an accident waiting to happen and a fluke that nothing has happened yet. We, the residents, want some form of traffic calming measures put in place here.
'There are two schools at opposite ends of the road, with schoolchildren crossing this road every day.
'I have been in touch with the county council, who have said that the emergency services are opposed to speed bumps being introduced on the road.
'But, what about a zebra crossing at the Redhill Road shops? We think it would be common sense.'
Martin Stears-Handscomb, NHDC leader and Oughton representative at the district council, says pedestrian crossing has been raised in the past, but never followed through by Herts County Council.
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Cllr Stears-Handscomb said: 'We have pursued the idea of a pedestrian crossing in Redhill Road several times, but each time the county council has refused, saying that their criteria have not been met.
'We would welcome either a pedestrian crossing or a smiley face speed monitor, but that is a matter for the county councillor for the ward. It has been raised in the past and we would welcome feedback on what the current position is.'
In response, David Barnard, one of Herts County Council's Hitchin representatives, agreed that implementing traffic calming measures was in 'everyone's best interest'.
He has now requested a survey from the Highways liaison officer and provisions for a zebra crossing adjacent to the Redhill Road shops to be 'addressed as a priority'.
Cllr Barnard said: 'I want to see anything that promotes road safety and protects children. I agree that we need to make Redhill Road as safe as possible.
'All ongoing projects are subject to available funding, but over the last 12 months, I have concentrated a lot of my county council budget into the Westmill area.'
Any proposal implemented by the county council would take at least a year to be actioned, if it is approved.
A spokeswoman for the county council said: 'The county council receives numerous requests for road safety improvements each year and has to prioritise funding based on criteria such as number and severity of collisions.
'The most recent three-year period collision data shows that there were four recorded collisions along Redhill Road which were slight in nature. Therefore, this would not be considered a high priority for further investigation/treatment by our road safety team.
'The safety of road users and pedestrians is of paramount importance to the council and we would always encourage people to voice any concerns which they might have about their local roads.'