Bernard Hall, Cuddington
By Haddenham Webteam - 22nd May 2015 12:00pm
Regular visitors to this website will be aware that a campaign has been waged by concerned local parents to have a zebra crossing installed in Woodways, allowing school children to cross this busy road with greater safety.
Frustrations at the slow progress with the installation programme, despite its approval some months ago, led to a public demonstration outside the Junior School on Thursday morning 21st May. Its coverage on this website led to the following exchanges on Facebook:
Why are these parents surprised?
The residents of Sheerstock have been waiting years for the promised parking regulations. I also think that while the crossing on Woodways is vital, very little seems to have been done to incorporate the very pressing need for a similar crossing at the Village Green.
In some ways, that end of the village, with it's irregular road layout, unclear junctions and asymmetric pathways needs such measures just as urgently, particularly with the certainty of the new houses being built at that end of the village. No doubt any such street-furniture would be deemed "not-in-keeping" with the Village which often seems to be the top priority over and above safety!
There is a line of thought that favours unclear road markings and shared pedestrian / vehicle space as it encourages everyone to be much more careful. This 'shared space' is a deliberate policy in some European countries.
I agree. The "shared space" concept was pioneered as long ago as 15 years ago, early examples were Poynton in Cheshire, near my home town of Stockport. It has largely been considered a success and statistics back this up.
However, crucially, such shared spaces do not exist by simply leaving spaces untouched and unaltered. Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent in making modifications to street furniture, road layout, visibility improvements and other calming measures. For example, Exhibition Road in South Kensington, another success story, but in reality a series of massive transformations to its current state and tens of thousands expenditure.
The problem in Haddenham, is that there is such inconsistency and irregularity.
For example, the village green has no parking restrictions, even up an incline past the Rose & Thistle, where the road narrows and bends, and there is always double parking at that point. It is treacherous.
Added to the problem, are dozens of children attempting to cross at that point, in between parked vehicles. No patrol officer leads to some uncertain parents making a dash for the safety of the grass by the war memorial. This sequence of events is a daily ritual, and I think it is only a matter of time before an accident will occur.
Add into the equation, significant traffic flow once the new houses are built, and the increase in footfall, and the case becomes even stronger.
The road system in the village is in need of a major overhaul. Some of the traffic flow signs seem to cause more problems than they solve (Thame Road) and contradict the shared space theory, and the "s" bend at Fort End is also a lethal place for pedestrians to attempt to cross.
Sadly, the reality is that "they" go on actual fatalities and injuries caused at such black spots as a marker for taking action to improve them, and therefore until someone dies of there is a serious accident, nothing will change.