Another accident near to a speed camera, sometime prior to 5 April 2010, though the exact date is unhelpfully not stated by the police. The speed camera can just be seen above the centre of the bend. This is on the A4147 between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.
Hertfordshire CC takes regular MORI Polls and one question asks 'What you would say is the most important issue facing Hertfordshire today?' Level of traffic congestion is number three on the list, whilst road safety/speeding cars is number 38, no wonder the locals are very angry. 64% of them believe that road congestion is a major issue.
I raised with the council the question of the Traffic Management Act 2004 which requires local traffic authorities to manage their network to secure the expeditious flow of traffic, and to take action which will contribute to securing avoidance, elimination and reduction of congestion. This is known as Network Management Duty (NMD). I also pointed out that the County Corporate Plan has seven challenges, number four being 'tackling the causes and impact of congestion.
I have suggested to two councillors on the Highways and Transport Panel that the panel consider the balance between safety and congestion reduction and gives guidance to Hertfordshire Highways for future work. They replied that they already did! In my view they are still too biased towards safety.
A MORI poll in September 2006 sought public perception of what would have the most positive impacts on congestion, top of the list was school travel plans,(59%), number two was building new roads (55%). By March 2008, 70% of Hertfordshire schools had school travel plans but there is little signs of any new roads being built. A Little Hadham Bypass (A120) is on the cards but nothing else before 2104 - see extract from Local Transport Plan below..A council study to investigate the need for additional road capacity (amongst other things) was due to be published at the end of November 2008 but has been postponed until April 2009.
The whole issue of congestion reduction has recently been raised in two National Reports
The Eddington Transport Study says ' smaller projects which unblock pinch-points, ....are likely to offer the very highest returns, sometimes higher than £10 for every pound spent'
John Redwoods report 'Freeing Britain to Compete' says'
'We also note that the capacity of the existing road network, especially in urban areas, has been reduced by traffic management schemes over the last decade, as a result of the Government’s focus on reducing speed to the exclusion of all else. We recommend a reassessment of improvements that have been made in the name of safety, since the measures taken have often been ineffective or even unintentionally dangerous (as in the case of artificial chicanes), and have sometimes ignored the evidence that speed is not a factor in over 90% of road accidents.
These steps should help to reduce the frustration most people experience at busy times of the morning and evening, as they try to take the children to school, get to the local shops, or travel to work, and which has been predominantly the result of the inadequacies of local road networks.'
Thanks to every one who sent me examples of pinch points prior to my attending the Local Transport Plan meeting in September 2007. I had over 40 examples and have passed these on to the County Officers and awaited news from them as to any action they will take. I followed it up with the officers but still no action. Following a news item about the affect of congestion on nusinesses in St Albans I then followed this up with a letter to the local press in December 2008 copied in to two councillors, but still silence reigns. Subsequently the local Liberal Democrats had a campaign about poor local roads and asked for examples of problems so I sent all this information to them. They also had a lot of information from other residents and have been pushing the County Council for improvements but nothing yet.
Any member of the public can, by prior arrangement, address one of the regular meetings of the County Council and ask a question. If you wish to do this just contact the Council and they will organise it. At the February 2010 meeting a member of the public asked two questions re Safety (speed) Cameras, see below.
Question re Cameras
At the County Council Meeting in February 2010 a member of the public asked the following questions,The following news item appeared on the Welwyn Hatfield Times website on 8 Jan 2010:
SPEED cameras will NOT be axed from Welwyn Hatfield’s roads, despite claims they do not help reduce accidents.
Herts County Council this week confirmed the cameras would stay, following a national newspaper report in which Cllr Rod Bluh, the leader of Swindon Borough Council, said his authority had taken the “right step” in scrapping them.
A spokeswoman for the county council said: “While we’re always keen to learn from the experiences of our colleagues at other councils, at the moment we’re confident that safety cameras are working for Hertfordshire.”
Question 1. What prompted the decision to make this statement to the press and who initiated it?
Question 2. Given that road safety performance (Killed and Seriously Injured and Personal Injury Collisions at camera sites), as measured and reported by the Camera Partnership itself, has not improved in the last two reported years, on what basis is the Council "confident that safety cameras are working for Hertfordshire"? i.e. what evidence is there that the hundreds of thousands of pounds spent annually on the Camera Partnership is making ANY positive contribution to road safety in the county?”
There was some debate on the subject and as a result CC Pile will send a response in writing. Watch this space
The Highways Agency is process of widening to Four Lanes the M25 from J16 (M40) to J23 (A1M) aiming to finish before the 2012 Olympics. The work will also include installing lighting on the currently unlit sections.The work is being done in three sections as follows
Junction 16 to 18 April 2009 to June 2010 - 57 weeks
Junction 18 to 21 June 2010 to May 2011 - 48 weeks
Junction 21 to 23 May 2011 to June 2012 - 45 weeks
The headline detail is a 34% decrease in Fatalities in 2008 v 2007.
Serious injuries fell by nearly 15%
Contributory factors as published in statistics are determined by the Police at the time of the accident.
Main contributory factors to fatal accidents were
33% loss of control
27% exceeding speed limit
These stats are completed at the end of an accident report and are based only on the opinion of an unqualified reporting officer; indicated by ticking a number of boxes provided in advance. There are boxes that should not be there; like 'speeding'. And boxes that should be there like 'slow other driver' or 'lead vehicle failing to light up road' etc. So all these stats show is that x% of officers ticked an inappropriate box. If anything, this emphasises their lack of special knowledge.
Speeding is defined as exceeding the speed limit whilst travelling too fast is defined as travelling too fast for the conditions but within the speed limit. These two categories are included in the boxes referred to in the above paragraph
|Contributory Factor||Fatal Accidents % all Fatals||Serious Accidents % all Serious||On 30 mph road Fatal /Serious||On 60 mph road Fatal /Serious|
|Travelling too fast||18.4%||14.8%||1/13||5/21|
Loss of Control 26.5%
Failed to look
The Hertfordshire Safety Camera Partnership is in process of switching to Digital Cameras. 53 cameras are due to be switched by March 2009 with the programme completed by 2011.All the upgraded sites feature an additional 'secondary flash' pole. Digital cameras produce better quality evidence especially at night and in poor weather conditions.
Hertfordshire continues to colour its fixed camera housings yellow and maintain the visibility requirements for static and mobile enforcement, such that a driver must have an unobstructed view of a static housing or mobile enforcement van from a prescribed distance, dependent on the speed limit of the road.
Following latest DfT rules, the posted speed limit is required to be seen within the same driver’s view as the safety camera and all Hertfordshire’s sites meet this requirement.
This requirement now includes the use of sign 880 (the combination sign of the camera silhouette and the 30 limit) at mobile enforcement sites in 30mph zones on restricted roads, (those roads restricted to 30mph by means of the presence of a system of street lighting).
The Partnership claims the following success for their cameras (comparing the three years before a camera with the three years after)
Whilst these numbers appear large and impressive this must be put in context. Comparing the three year period 2002-4 with the three year period 2005-7 there was a 23% reduction in all KSI accidents. Not all the camera data quoted above would be over these same three year periods but the 63.7% reduction at camera sites clearly does not mean a similar reduction on all roads. There is a factor known as regression to the mean which can affect these figures. Perhaps better driver education would reduce the much higher percentage of accidents due to loss of control or failing to look properly.
There is an ongoing national debate about the effectiveness of Cameras. Some councils have decided to remove all speed cameras, some are using Vehicle Activated Signs in their place (there are some of these in Hertfordshire) but for the moment Hertfordshire seems still wedded to the principle of speed cameras.
Since 30th April 2007, drivers sent a NIP for speeding from Hertfordshire have been able to check the incriminating photos on line, giving them every opportunity to dispute their guilt. The website is password restricted to drivers sent a NIP and includes site maps and camera calibration certificates.
A update to the current plan is being developed, LTP3 is to be produced by April 2011 and the process will
include consultation with the public on the draft, probably in autumn 2010.
This is detail of major funding from LTP2:
A total of 15 schemes, including those listed in LTP2 and two schemes from the draft output of
Hertfordshire’s Infrastructure and Investment Study (HIIS), are being promoted by
Hertfordshire. The schemes will compete with other East of England Authority schemes for a
share of the regional funding allocation. This will be split into two delivery periods(2009/10-
2013/14 and beyond 2014); the full list is below.
Detailed information on the following three schemes to be delivered by 2013/14
• Watford Junction Interchange
• Croxley Rail Link
• Little Hadham Bypass
Developmental information on the following twelve schemes beyond 2014
• A10 Royston Bypass
• A120 Standon
• A414 Gascoyne Way, Hertford
• A414 - M11 Relief Road
• A505 Hitchin to Letchworth
• A602 Gunnels Wood Road Roundabout, Stevenage
• A1184 Sawbridgeworth
• County Telematics Strategy
• A602 Ware to Stevenage Improvements
• A120 Bishops Stortford Bypass Dualling
• Central Herts Passenger Transport System
• Hemel Hempstead Northern Access
The consultants working for The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) are considering all these proposals, and will meet with Hertfordshire County Council representatives regarding Watford Junction Interchange, Croxley Rail Link and Little Hadham Bypass. The outcome of these meetings should be made clear in the New Year.
Speed Management Policy and Strategy
The Panel was asked to endorse the overall direction of a new tactical policy on Speed Management. It was felt that the policy statement should be revised to incorporate the wider environmental benefits of tackling speeding including the needs of pedestrians and the likely advances in technology. The Panel agreed to establish an advisory group to take this forward.
For current membership click on this link
There is a Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, he is Councillor Stuart Pile, firstname.lastname@example.org . Councillor Pile represents Transport Issues on the Cabinet, which is the top 'committee' of the Council
The Road Safety Officer is Theresa Casbard, E-mail: email@example.com phone 01992 556804
Proposals for new speed limits, traffic calming measures, etc are usually published in the Public Notices section of local newspapers, often the free sheets that many people don't read thoroughly. If we are to consider objecting to any of these proposals we need to know about them.
Many members drive through areas out of the district where they live. The first they usually know about such schemes is when they are installed. It is no use waiting until the scheme is installed, it is too late then to object. We need members in every district on the look out for proposals for such schemes and ready to object to them at the appropriate legal time, the only time when objections get a realistic chance of being considered.
Ideally we would like to have two members in each District of Herts willing to scan their local papers for such information and pass it on. Any volunteers please contact us.
Adjacent local areas|