Petition calls for action to prevent ‘rat run’ tragedy

March 02 2015

A CIVILIAN police worker who has recovered the bodies of two cats from the side of a road used as a rat run says she is exasperated by the council’s response to speeding traffic there.

lisa benney

A CIVILIAN police worker who has recovered the bodies of two cats from the side of a road used as a rat run says she is exasperated by the council’s response to speeding traffic there.

Lisa Benney found the dead  pets outside her cottage in Windsor Place, Mangotsfield, after they had been hit by vehicles.

She has warned South Gloucestershire Council on several occasions dating back to 2011, that traffic calming measures are needed before a human is injured or killed.

The 45-year-old has even submitted a petition calling for action, signed by around 50 neighbours.

But she has been told nothing can be done until there has been a serious accident.

Lisa, a crime scene investigator who has lived in Windsor Place for nine years, said: “Every surrounding road seems to have traffic calming apart from Windsor Place so people whiz down that road. It’s also a straight road so they absolutely belt it down there.

“I got together a petition and have been in touch with the council several times. They came out to have a look but they seemed to be more interested in people parking on the green area by The Lamb Inn.

“I’ve asked if we can have traffic calming measures but have been told it’s too expensive and they aren’t prepared to do it because there hasn’t been a fatality or serious accident. 

“I’ve picked up two cats that have been knocked over right outside my house. I know it’s not a human being but it’s not pleasant. I just don’t understand why they aren’t prepared to do anything about it. Everyone around here is of the same opinion. I’ve tried but I don’t know what else I can do.”

Lisa said the issue is made worse because the road is also a bus route for the 49 service.

She said: “The road really isn’t wide enough as there are no double yellow lines and it’s a two-way road. When cars park on one side and a bus tries to drive along, cars have to constantly reverse quite a way because the bus can’t get past. It’s even caused road rage outside my house.”

Because the road is narrow, vehicles had been driving up onto a green area on one side of Windsor Place so buses could get by. The council put a stop to it by placing bollards around the edge of the grassed area.

But Lisa said, while it might be protecting the grass, it has made the traffic situation even worse.

“The bollards aren’t even in-keeping with the area as they aren’t the wooden ones but are black, white and red. It’s not solving the problem and has just made things worse because cars just can’t pass each other at all now - there’s nowhere for them to go to escape the buses. I’ve asked First if the bus can go on a more major route but they said it can’t.”

Lisa said: “Sometimes I lie at night and hear the cars racing down and wait for the screech of brakes. It’s horrible and isn’t pleasant to live here even though I bought my house because it’s a lovely little cottage. “I’m sure something is going to happen at some point and I don’t want to have to say ‘I told you so’.”

Rodway Labour councillor Michael Bell said he has asked the council to carry out a review of traffic along the road.

He said: “The cameras monitor every vehicle for a few weeks and will check out what percentage of vehicles are going over 30mph. If there are a high number it will be taken to the next stage to look at whether a speed sign or traffic calming would be appropriate.”

First spokeswoman Karen Duffett said: “While we welcome feedback about our services we are not aware of any specific complaints regarding the use of Windsor Place by service 49 buses. We also note that one of the stops, outside The Lamb, at the end of the road is well used by local people.  With this in mind we do not have any current plans to change the route that the buses take in this area at  this present time.”  

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “The most recent speed survey data for Windsor Place was collected in May 2013. The data was gathered over a 24 hour/seven day period and the speeds recorded were found to be below 30mph. Separate speed surveys have shown that the adjacent traffic calmed 20 mph zone in Mangotsfield is effective and a new speed table has recently been constructed at the junction of Windsor Place, Blackhorse Road and Richmond Road to further improve compliance with the 20mph limit and provide new pedestrian crossing facilities.  

“Windsor Place sits just outside the 20mph zone and the last recorded injury accident here was in 2010. To date it has not been feasible to incorporate Windsor Place into the 20mph zone, however our engineers have noted the residents’ concerns and will investigate to determine if we need to carry our further speed monitoring in the area.”