Community steps forward to deter speeding drivers

September 30 2020

The Park Road Community Speedwatch team near Page Park

The Park Road Community Speedwatch team near  Page Park

RESIDENTS of a road in Staple Hill are putting speeding drivers on notice that they are being watched.
People living in Park Road say that speeding traffic in the area has got worse, despite a 20mph limit being introduced three years ago.
Now a group of residents who first got together on social media to help their neighbours through lockdown have formed a volunteer Community SpeedWatch team to monitor driving on the road.
They have been given a detector to record how fast drivers are going, and those who are more than five miles over the 20mph limit have their registrations recorded and receive a letter from the police. While the focus is on educating drivers about their speed, police can take action against persistent offenders.
The volunteers are also on the lookout for lorries breaching the weight limit restrictions on Park Road, which runs between Broad Street and Salisbury Road, including a stretch alongside Page Park.
The road is busy with through traffic travelling between Downend, Staple Hill and Kingswood, but also has a high number of pedestrians visiting the park, which is home to a pre-school and sports teams among its thousands of regular users.
Coordinator Adele Clark, who has lived on Park Road for more than 25 years, said that despite the introduction of the 20mph limit, speeding seemed to have been getting worse, with a number of accidents happening in recent years.
She said: "Since lockdown people have been getting gradually faster - I don't think people pay attention to the 20mph limit at all.
"The residents are scared about their kids. We need to do something before someone gets seriously hurt."
The residents approached the local neighbourhood policing team and police community support officer David Said helped them set up the group.
A total of 16 volunteers have come forward to hold regular sessions monitoring traffic, with the first having taken place in early September.
PCSO Said said: “While traffic officers focus on enforcement, Community SpeedWatch is primarily about educating drivers about the importance of keeping to speed limits.
“They will be giving up their own time each week to monitor vehicle speeds, using specialist speed detection equipment to assist them. Any vehicles observed speeding above a set threshold will be sent a warning letter, along with advice to help change their driving behaviour. Further action will be taken by the police against persistent and high end speed offenders as well as targeting individual locations.
"Motorists who speed through residential neighbourhoods are very often unaware of the impact on local residents, or the danger they pose to other road users including pedestrians and this is something we are continually working with communities to address.Speeding has a significant factor in many road traffic collisions. Community Speed Watch collates information about potential risk areas and highlights possible offenders. This provides us with an opportunity to offer education and warnings ahead of penalties.
"We’re very grateful to volunteers and members of the community for playing a part in keeping the roads safe for everyone.”