Petition calls for safety action on Whitehall Road
A FAMILY has launched a petition calling for action to improve safety at the lower end of Whitehall Road.
They say pedestrians negotiating narrow pavements are left at the mercy of drivers who flout the 20mph speed limit.
Brett Moodie and partner Lindsey Allen walk from their home in Carlton Park towards the bridge at Easton Road when they take their six-year-old daughter Dolly and four-year-old son Rudi to school and nursery.
But the relatively short walk is fraught with anxiety when they have to cross Whitehall Road.
Because the road is so narrow at that point, vehicles, particularly lorries and buses, drive perilously close to pedestrians, with their wing mirrors often hanging over the pavement.
Brett said: “Every morning and evening we have a really bad time just getting across the road and then walking down the narrow footpath. It's quite scary. Just yesterday I was walking up with my son and a bus was so close that its mirror almost hit my head.
“The only way we can get across is by waving at drivers and getting them to stop for us. I haven't seen any accidents but there's one waiting to happen.”
Brett (pictured above with daughter Dolly on a stretch of the narrow pavement) said families are forced to walk single file, but this isn't possible if a parent is pushing a buggy and has to hold the hand of another child.
The problem is exasperated on bin day when residents leave their waste and recycling out for collection, making the pavement even more narrow.
There are several 20mph signs in place but when a reporter from St George and Redfield Voice visited the spot, it was clear drivers were exceeding the speed limit.
Brett said: “Within a few hundred metres there are two nurseries, a secondary school, a playground, two primary schools and several entrances to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path.
“The road is heavily used by school kids, families with young kids, pedestrians and cyclists getting to and from work, school and going about their daily business. This area is marked as a 20mph zone, yet cars, vans and lorries all travel in excess of this limit.
“It is frightening and dangerous to be a pedestrian on this road. When it rains it floods under Easton Road bridge and people end up getting soaked from the traffic speeding down the road. It also means bad visibility for drivers turning on to Whitehall Road from Easton Road.”
Brett said after he mentioned the petition on social media he has been contacted by lots of residents sharing their stories about dangerous journeys and near misses.
“I have written to councillors and received no response. We just want this area to be safe for everyone and believe simple measures could achieve this.”
Brett said there are various options which could be considered including clearer signage, making the pavement wider on the side of the road where there are houses and widening the road on the other side, introducing more speed bumps and bringing in a chicane system where traffic has to give way to vehicles in the opposite direction.
Other possibilities include a zebra crossing, speed limit signs painted on the road, railings to act as a barrier between pedestrians and traffic and an additional entrance to the railway path, opposite the entrance to Carlton Park.
Brett said although there are speed bumps in place near the corner of Whitehall Road and Cannon Street, vehicles tend to speed up once they've gone past them.
“It wouldn't be expensive to put in some road calming measures. The best thing we could hope for is to make the road single file so only one car can come through at a time.
“The road was not built for this many cars. It's obviously a spot which has been forgotten about. If the council wants Bristol to be a clean and green city, it needs to be encouraging people to walk. At the moment, it's such a bad way to start the day.”
Brett's daughter Dolly said: “I feel like everything is really fast. Sometimes when big buses and trucks come by, it scares me.”
A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “It is important that the city’s roads and streets are safe, efficient and accessible to everyone and we constantly monitor road safety and identify any problem areas.
“Citizens can report their road safety concerns or request an improvement or change to the road on the council website (https://www.bristol.gov.uk/improve-my-street) and can also raise those concerns with their local ward member. Bristol’s area committees make decisions on how local funds are spent to support improvements in their areas, including reviewing and prioritising road safety schemes. While the council is not responsible for enforcing speed limits, such issues can also be raised with the police, while the Community SpeedWatch scheme also allows local people to be actively involved in road safety.”
The petition is open until March 31.