Views from the Hill – January 2014 newsletter

MAMM 3 IMG_0452  Motoring Mayhem. It needs to stop – now.
The speed and volume of traffic in Canonbie Road and adjacent streets, particularly during the school run period, has prompted highly concerned residents to form a campaign group to address growing safety concerns. Mothers Against Motoring Mayhem (MAMM) aims to engage the local authority, police, and local schools in a constructive dialogue about these safety issues and work with them to develop solutions. If these problems are not properly addressed, it can only be a matter of time before a tragic accident happens.

The approach roads to Fairlawn School and St Francesca De Cabrini School are very narrow, and wheelie bins left on the pavement on refuse collection day further compound the problem. Parents walking their children along Honor Oak Road to either of the two schools are often forced to step off the pavement, or even walk along the very busy where the speed limit of 30mph is frequently exceeded by many drivers. There are no adequate, properly maintained, or visible road signs warning motorists of the danger of a school. Given that in dry conditions the typical stopping distance for a car travelling at 30mph is 23 metres (about the same length as 6 cars), the potential hazard for young children is clear.

The traffic flow and dynamics of the increasingly high volume of traffic on Honor Oak Road is causing an increasing number of drivers to use Canonbie Road to avoid the traffic build-up. It is now a really busy ‘rat run’ with a constant stream of vans, trucks and cars using it, especially between 7.30am and 9.30 am when the children are on their way to school. Crossing the road is difficult as visibility is poor due to the gradient of the hill – Canonbie Road is one of the steepest roads in South East London and several dangerous incidents have occurred that increase the hazards to children as well as adults. Recent incidents include vehicles entering from Honor Oak Road stopping suddenly or sliding backwards owing to the steepness of the slope, and drivers losing control of their vehicle and crashing into several parked cars and the front garden walls of three residents. Coaches and lorries have even more problems negotiating the hill. Additionally, the steep slope requires vehicles to engage a low gear which results in increased emissions of hazardous clouds of exhaust fumes. Children are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution – because of their height they have greater exposure to pollutants emitted close to the ground. Emissions are made worse when vehicles accelerate and decelerate between speed bumps. Many frustrated drivers see the wide road as an opportunity to overtake vehicles observing the existing 30mph speed limit in what has become increasingly a rush hour frenzy.

There has also been an alarming rise in the use of Netherby Road as a rat run by parents driving their children to St Francesca De Cabrini School. When dropping off their children, many parents stop close to the junction of Forest Hill Road and Honor Oak Road or drive-up onto the pavements used by pedestrians, many of whom are parents walking their children to school. Other examples of irresponsible driving include parents performing U-turns to go back down Forest Hill Road after dropping off their children.

The issues that need to be urgently addressed are traffic speed, poor road signage, two highly dangerous ‘blind spots’ in Honor Oak Road, and adequate safety railings. All previous attempts to address these issues by numerous members of the Association and other local residents have proved utterly fruitless. Mothers Against Motoring Mayhem (MAMM) has been formed out of a total disenchantment with the people they believed were in a position to help. We urgently need your support, ideas, opinions and action to address what is a major threat to the young children on the Estate. If you can help in any way, do contact MAMM via this website, or at either dagmar@mamm.org.uk or facebook.com/mothers against motoring mayhem

Our children have no sense of the danger, but we do. We must act now to safeguard them.

For more information about the campaign, see the January 2014 Newsletter.

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