Road safety has to wait

PUBLISHED: 09:54 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:21 26 October 2009

Sir - It is a tragedy that an elderly woman has been hurt by a car outside John Lewis. Irrespective of the direct cause or specific location of the incident it can come of little surprise to anyone familiar with the (lack of) traffic management in WGC. S

Sir - It is a tragedy that an elderly woman has been hurt by a car outside John Lewis. Irrespective of the direct cause or specific location of the incident it can come of little surprise to anyone familiar with the (lack of) traffic management in WGC.

Speeding down Parkway is a normal occurrence, so much so that anyone who has the audacity to drive at the speed limit is subject to autobullying through flashing lights and aggressive driving. Years ago the police did occasional speed checks on the roads, but that seems to have long ceased, traffic calming and enforcement are long overdue.

Elsewhere discourteous driving, jumping lights and accelerating into the smallest gap left between the car in front are common place. And woe betide anyone who happens to have the right of way and be confronted by a white van or 4X4 who does not - the fact that you may be in the right matters not a jot in their personal version of the "My way Code"

What measures are in place to assist drivers and pedestrians often hinder rather than help. The pelican crossings in WGC are a case in point. Who recognises the following scenario? A few cars are passing, you press the button. And you wait. And you wait. And you wait. After a while (it seems like 20 minutes) you notice the lights have not changed and there are no cars any more. So you cross the road. Then twenty yards on you hear the forlorn bleeping behind of a pelican crossing. Casting your eye over your shoulder you see a pelican crossing devoid of people with a queue of cars waiting pointlessly for the lights to change.

Like most people in this town I travel around the country and nowhere are the pelican crossings as useless as those in Welwyn Garden. This morning for example, on a busy arterial road in the west of London I timed the light which changed in about 10 seconds.

It is hard to understand why the timing is so poor. It would be tempting to assume that it is designed by a car obsessed county council always interested in putting the driver first. However, as a driver I know that it is no less frustrating sitting at a red light pumping out CO2 while you wait for the lights to change, watching the rear end of the person disappear in the distance, long ago having crossed without the benefit of the green man.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that Hertfordshire Highways are more interested in allowing cars to flow unencumbered than encourage the safe use of pelican crossing.

A major review is needed, some enforcement is needed, and careful driving and courtesy is needed if innocent people are not to be hurt.

Paul Orrett, The Old Drive, WGC.

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