Monday, 11 January 2016

What are our highways improvement priorities?

What are our highway priorities in Frodsham?

Well, according to Labour controlled CWaC - it is the introduction of 20mph zones in residential areas.  On 6 January 2016 CWaC's cabinet approved setting aside £800,000 over 4 years to introduce 20mph zones in residential areas throughout the Borough.

A number of us addressed the Cabinet making the point that the previous Conservative CWaC controlled council supported the introduction of 20mph zones in residential areas where the majority of residents who lived on the affected roads supported it.  Labour has revised this policy - doing away with the need for the majority of residents to agree to the changes.

Whilst I'm delighted that money has been found to make highway improvements I believe we have other more pressing needs at the moment such as:

  • pedestrian safety on the 'S bend' on Manley Road;
  • vehicle pollution problems on the A56 - largely centred on the Fluin Lane/St Hilda's Drive junction caused by queuing in rush hour from the Bear's Paw traffic lights...
I would like to see the council confirm that it will spend money on tackling these issues ahead of a 'blanket' approach to 20mph limits in Frodsham.  I challenged the Cabinet specifically on this point at the meeting.   If there is money to do everything - fine... but I fear we will be told, as I was by the highways department only a couple of weeks or so ago - that it is too expensive to put in a pavement on Manley Road.

Lynn and I looked at introducing 20mph limits in Frodsham 3-4 years ago and inspite of widespread publicity at the time, and us obtaining quotes for the work to be done there was little appetite for any change.  After all, as many of us know on many of our residential roads it is effectively impossible to travel above 20mph.  That said it is important in my view that we continue to encourage safe and respectful road usage by all.  A speed limit is only a limit - not a speed you must achieve.  

If you want to see Cllr Riley's and my speeches you can see them either on the CWaC website or here on the Frodsham Conservatives video channel.

Whilst it is fair to say that the plans are not fully developed yet, the Cabinet did publish a map of Frodsham showing where it believes 20mph limits could be introduced.  Anyone looking at the maps can see the anomalies and absurdities straight away.  Incidentally the 'yellow area' around the medical centre follows work that Lynn and I have done.

The police have also indicated that they are unlikely to enforce the lower limits if they are introduced.

But looking at the map ask yourself the question why, if a 20mph limit is to be introduced in residential areas why isn't it to be introduced on:
Froda Avenue
St Lawrence Road
Top Road
Newlands Close
Overton Drive
Hazelhurst Road
Dig Lane
Matty's Lane ... to name but a few.

Is there an opportunity to make Godscroft Lane 20mph to make cycling to Helsby High School more attractive... however making our roads more cyclist friendly isn't on the agenda either it would appear.  I fear this is typical Labour - good at telling people what they want and good at spending other people's money - but not so good at setting sensible priorities, or engaging in full meaningful consultation.