20 mph across Reading

Yesterday evening I heard yet again the same old story from Labour councillors about the need for 20mph limits in one particular estate in Reading. They do keep popping up with the same idea, namely that we can create a patchwork of 20mph areas across Reading, but they absolutely refuse to take the bull by the horns and implement 20mph limits on ALL residential roads in Reading. Do they really think that a patchwork of some 20mph alongside some 30mph zones makes much sense? Drivers need to know and understand traffic regulations and zipping between 20mph and 30mph zones does not make it easy for the driver to know which zone he is driving in.

What is so wrong with doing a big promotion across the town, engaging with residents (in a referendum, if necessary, next May) and going for 20mph limits across ALL residential roads in Reading. Why is it good for Dee Road Estate all of a sudden but not for Elvaston Way (where we asked for a 20mph zone six or seven years ago).

There is no logic to a piecemeal approach when almost everywhere you ask people they all want 20mph zones by a large majority.

Wake up Cllr Tony Page, smell the coffee, and move to implement 20mph along all residential roads across the whole town.

20 is Plenty for all of us! Visit the website at www.20splentyforus.org.uk

20s Plenty

Yet another smash in Mayfair

Mayfair smash 4 Aug 2014 cropped

I am losing count of the number of smashes in Mayfair since the council stopped residents parking on their own driveways. Today’s smash (see above) is the fourth or fifth involving cars running in to parked vehicles or drivers causing accidents whilst reversing out of their driveways between parked cars.

I am not sure how long it takes for this Labour council to recognise that stopping residents of Mayfair from parking on their own driveways is not just nonsensical, it is also downright dangerous.

Tilehurst residents overwhelmingly support the experimental ban on verge and pavement parking but the council’s pigheadedness over Mayfair is causing huge concern over the whole scheme.

New crossings for School Road

Council officers have revised the plans for School Road that I reported on in December. The plans now call for 4 new pedestrian refuges along School Road instead of the 5 in the original plan and the bus stop in The Triangle is staying put. The plans can be seen here:

TTMS 004

Even better news is that the works are due to start next week (from Monday 24 February) after the Transport Management Team re-arranged their works schedules in the light of recent flooding.

School Road will soon have 4 new crossing points making crossing the road much easier and safer along with a new 20mph speed limit and a new guard rail outside the library (thanks to my colleague Meri O’Connell who led a campaign for the guard rail). All in all this is a good response to a number of accidents along School Road involving pedestrians. It also means that parents with children in tow and elderly residents can use the new crossings to avoid the particularly dangerous crossing of Westwood Road at its junction with School Road.

We welcome the new crossings and look forward to a safer Tilehurst. We will continue to campaign for 20mph zones across the whole town to make our residential streets safer for all users.

New plans for School Road

School Road at The Triangle

Traffic managers at the council have come up with new plans to improve road safety along School Road in Tilehurst, in part due to a number of incidents involving pedestrians in recent years. The plans call for:

1. A number of traffic islands along School Road to make it safer for pedestrians to cross.
2. Removal of the bus lay-by in The Triangle.
3. Creation of a new bus lay-by in Corwen Road.
4. A new 20 mph limit along School Road, Walnut Way and the closes off them.
5. A safety barrier (guard railing) in front of the library.

The lay-by in The Triangle is used by the 33 buses as a timing point so buses may be parked there for several minutes. Moving the lay-by to Corwen Road will allow pedestrians to cross using a new island in front of Barclays Bank without the buses holding up traffic. The 17 will continue to use the bus stop which will move slightly closer to the traffic lights, but on the road and it does not use this stop as a timing point. The lay-by outside the Plough will not be changed.

Pedestrians can use the new islands to cross over School Road and also to avoid the tricky crossing of Westwood Road where mums, schoolchildren and elderly folk currently have to walk in between cars.

All in all the plans are welcome although we would have preferred a much wider 20 mph zone incorporating a lot more of Tilehurst’s residential roads.

You can see the plans here on the main Reading Lib Dems website.

Feel free to send any comments in to the ouncil, in fact the more comments you send in the better. And do not forget to mention the need for a safety barrier outside the library to stop very young children from running out into the street.

Potholes, potholes and more potholes

Walnut Way 20130414b
This is clearly a subject that concerns a lot of folk in Tilehurst according to our recent residents’ surveys. We also get a number of pothole reports coming to our monthly surgeries. Since the council has put in considerbly more effort to fix potholes over the last few months I thought I would share with you some figures that were presented to the recent Traffic Management committee in November.

Since 29 July the council has fixed 540 out of 885 potholes reported, which is 61%. This includes all those on major (A and B class) roads. Having fixed the major roads they are are working down the list of priorities and should complete the vast bulk before Xmas and the inevitable bout of colder weather that will, no doubt, open up another load of potholes.

Do spare a thought for the gangs who spend their time out on the roads fixing potholes, its a job that never ends.

Why we need blanket 20mph zones across Reading

I am often accused by the Labour Administration in Reading of wanting to impose 20 mph zones on the whole population where they want to achieve something similar area by area. Well let’s get the democracy question sorted first. Yes I want to see 20 mph zones across all residential areas of Reading but only after we have made the case to residents and got their support. I believe that the case for reclaiming our streets with blanket 20 mph zones is overwhelming both in terms of reducing traffic casualties and of encouraging more people to walk and cycle.


Labour’s slowly slowly approach has meant that only the one area, in Newtown (where they hope to take the seat off the Greens next May), is currently being targeted for a 20 mph zone. Other councils have taken a much more proactive stance and gone ahead to consult with residents over whole towns and cities. These include Portsmouth, Brighton, Islington, Warrington, Liverpool, Wirral, Lancashire, Oxford, York, Cambridge, Waltham Forest, Newcastle, Hackney, Bristol, Middlesborough, Bath, Camden and Darlington.

For years Tony Page and his Labour colleagues have prevaricated on the issue of 20 mph zones whilst all these other places have grasped the nettle. We need action now over the whole of Reading and we need to make the case to Reading’s population about the need to reduce car speeds in residential areas. Actually I am sure that most Reading residents will take little convincing as whenever I have asked people about it there is almost total agreement.

So stop shilly-shallying and let’s have 20 mph zones across Reading

Slower speeds through wide 20mph limits is the top child protection measure

Children and families are big winners from slower speeds. Wide 20mph limits help parents and children to get around locally. Less danger or parent ‘taxi-duty’ and more walking and cycling means happier, healthier families with extra money to spend.

Child protection should focus more on slower speeds because crashes are the top
avoidable cause of early death or injury for 5-35 year olds. Some children are not allowed to go out without an adult because of fears of being run over. Leading expert Professor Danny Dorling says “roads imprison richer children at home, denying them the freedom to move and are the main sites of killing of poorer children”.

Changing adult driving styles does work. Signing drivers to obey a 20mph limit improves safety – especially if most roads are included. The World Health Organisation say wide area 20mph limits help protect walkers. Public Health body NICE advises 20 mph limits near children. At 20mph the risk of death is 7 times less than 30mph . There is extra time to get out of the way or brake. Just 20% of child casualties happen on school journeys. Yet until recently transport officials had focused on engineering slower speeds with humped, school zones. But, humps are costly. They result in confusing limits. Zones only protect a few hundred metres near schools (about 17% of a school trip). Zones encourage parents to drop off in the “safe area” and then remind them to speed up on leaving it. Wide 20mph limits are better because people who walk or cycle the journey enjoy a 20mph limit throughout the majority of their route. Noise levels fall by 50% too, plus its popular and good for the environment.

The results of protective parents stopping children from going about by themselves are all too clear. Very overweight child numbers are rising. 22% of London’s year 6 children (10/11 year olds) are obese. Body fat is controlled by eating fewer calories and exercise. Exercising one hour daily is recommended for kids, yet with most not allowed to walk or cycle alone due to mum’s and dad’s concerns, few are active enough. Also the focus on obesity is masking rapidly reducing child fitness levels. Nearly half of year 11 pupils (15 year olds) are unfit. This raises the risks of many other health problems such as heart disease.

From 20’s Plenty For Us which campaigns for a 20mph default speed limit in residential streets without physical calming. Web www.20splentyforus.org.uk

Here comes the ban

Tomorrow, Tuesday 7 May, the experimental ban of pavement and verge parking comes in to force along a number of roads in Tilehurst. Our local surveys suggest that 2/3 of residents in Tilehurst support the ban. It is designed to counter two local problems; firstly the uncaring drivers who park on pavements rather than the actual road which then blocks the footpath and forces mums with buggies, mobility scooters and anyone else to walk out in to the road. Secondly, the ban will stop drivers using grass verges as parking bays and destroying the verges, leaving behind a rutted muddy patch where grass used to grow.

Since the new signs went up a number of residents have contacted me with worries about getting disabled partners or parents from the front door to a car some distance away on the road. I can understand the problem but common sense suggests that in such cases it may be necessary to ‘block’ the footway for a few minutes to let disabled passengers in to, or out of, a car.

The ban will force more drivers to park in the roads rather than on pavements and verges. One possible result of this is a drop in speeds of cars as they manoeuvre around parked vehicles rather than put their foot down on an open section of road.

Update on Roadworks in Tilehurst

I have received notification of the following roadworks in Tilehurst over the coming week:

Vodafone are installing a new telephone mast in Dark Lane about 100m up from Overdown Road for a week from 6 June and will be using temporary traffic lights and causing posssible delays.

Thames Water will be working in Blundells Road from 8-12 June.

Thames Water are also planning some minor work in Church End Lane from 6-8 June.

Thames Water will be working in Halls Road from 7-11 June, again only minor works.

Southern Gas will be working outside The Bird In Hand, Lower Armour Road, from 12-19 June.

Thames Water will be working in Savernake Close from 7-11 June.

Parking on Grass Verges in Tilehurst

Excellent news from tonight’s meeting of the Traffic Managment Advisory Panel (TMAP). The meeting approved the go-ahead for a ban on verge and pavement parking along a number of roads in Tilehurst. They even accepted the additional roads suggested by the Tilehurst NAG and the Tilehurst Globe, both of which, in their different ways, have taken a keen interest in traffic issues in Tilehurst. This is the first time that such a ban is being introduced in Reading so we are all keen to see what effect it really has.

TMAP have agreed to push forward a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) that will ban verge and pavement parking along the following roads:

Westwood Road
Oak Tree Road
School Road
Recreation Road
Churhc End Lane
Lower Elmstone Drive
Brooksby Road (just the bottom end near Overdown Road)
Park Lane
The Meadway
Overdown Road
Norcot Road

This has been a long time coming and as a ward councillor I have received many representations from residents who want to see such a ban come in to effect. It will take a couple of months for the TRO to be published and there will be a formal consultation period before the ban (assuming it is approved) finally comes in.

We all need to take more care of grass verges and not turn them into mud patches and we all need to avoid parking on pavements where the footpath is blocked to pedestrians, mothers with prams and mobility scooters.