Louth Eye
 A guide to Louth in Lincolnshire since 2004

Kids Versus Cars

September 26th 2012



Bridge Street

The junctions at Bridge Street

St Mary's

St Mary's Lane

St Mary's

St Mary's Lane



Bridge street car park

Bridge Street car park

Grimsby Road junction

Grimsby Road junction

The top of Broadbank

The top of Broadbank

When you walk across town in the morning do you feel like you're taking your life in your hands? That's pretty much how my brother, Dan Jackson, and his wife Gemma feel about the daily school run. They could load the kids into the car but it's greener, and faster given Louth's peculiar one-way system, to walk it. It would be nice to be able to say it's healthier as well, but there's nothing healthy about getting run over.

The latest Department for Transport road traffic statistics suggest that overall motor vehicle volume is about stable in the UK over the past five years, or even falling slightly due to the recession. However these levels have increased considerably since the last century, when much of the current system of crossings, traffic calming and traffic lights was put into place.

It's no longer fit for purpose. Let's take a closer look at some of the danger zones.

Upgate and Bridge Street

The layout of the roads makes crossing very difficult around Upgate near St James' Church, and on to the junction between it and Bridge Street. Nearly every way you look there's a blind bend, and there's no safe crossing area. This road gets very busy, and people really need somewhere to cross safely. Further on, at the entrance to the car park on Bridge Street there's a problem with overhanging foliage, as pictured. This means visibility is reduced and people have to duck under it or step into the road. It's not ideal.

Pushchair access

Moving towards St Mary's Lane, there's more overhanging greenery although some of it has been cut back recently. However crossing this road at any point between the Grimsby Road junction and the second St. Mary's Cemetery exit is difficult because cars travel at speed along this road, which curves so that it's not always easy to see what's coming. It needs traffic calming measures. It might be safer to take the Cemetery entrance, but it's very difficult to manoeuvre a pushchair through those gates and steps, which leaves parents with the less safe crossing option nearer the junction.

The junction between Grimsby Road, St Mary's Lane and High Holme Road is another very busy point. Further up the hill at the top of Broadbank where the entrance to the hospital is there's another tricky crossing, although this time it's not so much because the cars come at you particularly fast, but it's a big expanse of asphalt with the view eastwards along High Holme Road obscured by housing.

According to the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, 411 people were killed or seriously injured on Lincolnshire roads in 2011, with a further 1943 people slightly injured.

Careful planning of traffic calming measures can put a dent in these statistics, and the places I've highlighted are prime candidates for improvement. I don't know how much of this problem has to do with the vicious cycle of parents deciding that the school run is too unsafe to walk, and then adding to the problem by driving their children everywhere. But we have to do something in order to move towards a town that people aren't afraid to walk in.

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