'Someone could be killed'

August 27 2020

Teewell Hill residents by one of the places where vehicles frequently mount the pavement.

'Someone could be killed'

PEOPLE living on an "already dangerously busy" road in Staple Hill fear a pedestrian could be killed after the closure of nearby streets to through traffic.
Residents of Teewell Hill say more vehicles are having to squeeze through the narrow approach to the traffic lights at the junction with Broad Street and Park Road since the nearby Charnell Road and Signal Road were shut off by South Gloucestershire Council.
An increase in traffic needing to turn right, as the closed roads can no longer be used to reach Mangotsfield, is leading to longer queues on Teewell Hill – and more vehicles illegally mounting the pavement to pass each other, as the road is blocked.
Resident Faye Galvin said: "The temporary closure of Charnell and Signal Roads has led to a significant increase in traffic in both directions on Teewell Hill – an already dangerously busy road.
"Lorries and cars travelling down the hill are mounting the pavement to bypass stationary traffic on the other side.
"This has resulted in several near misses for pedestrians, including one for a parent pushing a buggy and with two other small children, and has become a daily hazard for the elderly residents of the flats and bungalows at the top of the hill."
Faye says there has been an increase in fumes from standing traffic, damage to cars parked at the side of the road and an increase in traffic heading for the centre of Staple Hill using narrow Teewell Avenue to avoid queues for the lights.
Parked cars on Teewell Avenue mean there is not room for traffic to pass through it in both directions, and more drivers are now reversing out on to Teewell Hill to allow oncoming traffic to come out.
Faye said: "We are concerned that come September, when more children are travelling by foot along the road to access the two primary schools in our neighbourhood, that there could be a serious or fatal incident."
Fellow resident Lindsay Harris said vehicles trying to turn into Signal Road and Charnell Road and finding them blocked were now reversing onto Teewell Hill or "simply abandoning their vehicles on the grass verge or pavement and walking to deliver...as they can't figure out how to get there".
She added: "More lorries even than before are now mounting the pavement, as the road is not wide enough for two lorries to pass each other. It is simply not big enough to cope with the increased volume and speed of traffic and poses a significant risk to pedestrians."
The residents are calling for the council to urgently look at the phasing of the traffic lights to allow more cars to turn right towards Mangotsfield. They are also calling for calming to be introduced as an alternative to the closures.
The council closed Charnell Road and Signal Road in response to government guidance to "capitalise on the increases in active travel and greatly reduced motor vehicle use seen during lockdown". It said the closures would "provide more attractive routes for pedestrians and cyclists, encouraging active travel and reducing motor vehicle use in the vicinity of the Bristol to Bath cyclepath access".
An experimental traffic order has been introduced to govern both closures and comments are now being accepted on the consultations section of the council's website. The Charnell Road page can be found at bit.ly/32drNTT and the Signal Road page at bit.ly/2E7qIFd.
A council spokesman said: "We are aware that some drivers have been illegally mounting the pavement in this area and we urge people to drive responsibly and remain patient at busy times. We will be checking the light sequencing here to see if any changes can be introduced to help traffic flow more freely through the area.
“We are continuing to monitor the road closures which have been put in place as part of the wider social distancing measures along Staple Hill High Street, to keep people safe at this current time. We encourage people to continue providing their feedback on the changes."
Staple Hill and Mangotsfield ward councillors have been liaising with the residents.
Councillor Ian Boulton said: "From the start our main reservation about the Signal Road scheme has been the additional pressure this would put onto Teewell Hill, and we have asked the traffic engineers for ideas on how to mitigate this.
"We have yet to hear their ideas, however we have discussed with residents the possibility of reintroducing a weight limit for vehicles using Teewell Hill, as well as reconfiguring the sequence of the traffic lights at the top of the hill.
• Residents questioned whether the cylindrical concrete barriers on Signal Road were being made permanent after workers were seen filling them.
The council told the Voice the barriers were "being planted with shrubs/flowers to improve the appearance of some of the measures" and insisted that the work was "no indication that the scheme is permanent".