Swale Greens back Faversham traffic calming campaign

3 June 2015

Swale Green Party has thrown its support behind FACT (Faversham Action for Calmer Traffic), a local residents' campaign for traffic calming in Faversham, working towards a safer, pedestrian and cycle friendly town.

The campaign was officially launched in January 2015, in response to a spate of road accidents. In March, Swale Green Party agreed to make road safety in Faversham one of its three key concerns for 2015 and continue to provide our support to the campaign, and FACT's founder updated Swale Green Party's members on the issue at their May meeting.

Over the past few months, Swale Green Party has been campaigning with FACT - to raise awareness among residents as well as town, borough and county councillors

The Green Party is deeply concerned that the method for deciding whether action is needed is based on flawed statistics, because when accident victims die in hospital instead of immediately at the scene, the collision is not recorded as fatal.

The party also believes that proactive action is taken - waiting for more people to be killed in order to spur action by the authorities is completely unacceptable.

 

In the same month FACT, along with Swale Green Party members, lobbied the Swale Local Engagement Forum, attended by town and borough councillors, including two Conservative councillors, Mike Cosgrove and Nigel Kay, who both pledged to “support a 20mph speed limit across Faversham” on re-election. You can read FACT’s account of what happened at the Local Engagement Forum here.

We agree with FACT that the town’s roads and traffic need urgent attention. In the past three years there has been two fatalities on zebra crossings in the town and then in the past few months a hit-and-run incident involving a school child and a taxi, a 13-year-old left with life-changing injuries when he was knocked off his scooter in Athelstan Road and, just days later, a woman was taken to hospital with abdominal injuries after yet another collision.

The problems stem from out-dated infrastructure and vehicle speed:

  • Many of the roads and pavements in town are very narrow and residential, with traffic (including significant numbers of commercial vehicles and HGVs) regularly traveling at dangerously high-speeds.
  • Faversham is very fortunate to have several schools in town but there are no traffic calming measures, speed limiter signs, dedicated safe-crossing areas or crossing assistants outside them or on the busy roads that connect directly to them. 
  • Pedestrian crossings are few and far between and inadequate for the diverse needs of the town. Pedestrianised alleyways provide short-cuts across town, linking residents to basic amenities such as health centres, green spaces, schools, nurseries and the town centre but they are dissected by busy major roads, with no crossing facilities linking them.
  • The Market Square and Preston St are pedestrianised on market days between 9am and 4pm and restricted to disability and delivery access the rest of the week, yet all these restrictions are routinely flouted, which is confusing and hazardous to pedestrians. 

Most alarmingly, two pedestrians have died after having been knocked down on two existing zebra crossings, and yet the crossings remain largely the same and are still dangerous.

Stanley Taylor was knocked down on the Forbes Road crossing in January 2014 and despite his widow, Mrs Doreen Taylor, amassing 1,200 names on a petition asking for the crossing to be made safer, Kent County Council refused.

Prior to this John Hobson died from injuries sustained after being knocked down on the Whitstable Road crossing in Dec 2012.

Neither accident is recorded as a fatality in the crash data. 

Having researched various solutions to the problem and referred to other campaigning organisations such as BRAKE and 20s Plenty for Us, FACT believes one of the most comprehensive and simple strategies to implement would be a 20mph speed limit. While it wouldn’t solve all the issues, it would be an important first step and is already transforming towns and cities up and down the country. For more information on the rationale behind this, please refer to FACT's Why 20mph? page. For information on journey times at 20mph check out the 20's Plenty Myth Busting info.

If you want to get involved, subscribe to FACT’s blog and send FACT your email, stating that you would like to help with the campaign.

You can show support, keep up-to-date with FACT’s progress and suggest solutions by liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter, you can also join the discussions on Streetlife.com

Please also let FACT or Swale Green Party know:

  • roads where traffic speed is an issue for you
  • roads/junctions you find difficult to cross
  • where you would like to see cycle paths and bike racks