Safer streets for Sevenoaks
By Tony Clayton
For people in Sevenoaks, 'safer streets' means something simple. It's the ability to walk our town without feeling threatened by heavy or speeding traffic, and to cross the roads and use the pavements without injury. It affects all ages. Here are four simple solutions.
First, as the volume of traffic rises - and Sevenoaks District Council sets out to attract yet more - we need urgent action to make streets safer for all. 20 mph speed limits in town centres and residential streets are now standard across Britain. They've arrived in Seal, but not yet Sevenoaks.
Results from villages, town and cities with 20 mph zones show that they lower accident numbers, reduce the risk of injury when accidents do happen, and cut noise and nuisance for people living on busy roads. The most obvious place to introduce them is near schools. Anyone who has been to Australia will know that there school speed limits are prominent, and rigorously enforced because they save lives.
Second, limiting heavy lorries though the narrow streets of Sevenoaks would help. Big vehicles often threaten pedestrians, mount pavements and damage roads, paths and even buildings. Limits to the weight of HGVs - or at least to the times of access - would improve life for everyone and reduce congestion.
Third, the pavements in Sevenoaks are a danger for everyone on foot. They are a particular hazard for older people. Most of us know someone who has tripped or fallen, and ended up in hospital. Our pavements need fixing.
Fourth, there aren't enough safe places to cross busy roads. We need new pedestrian crossings:
- on Seal Road, to get to Greatness Park
- on Dartford Road, for students coming from the station to the secondary schools
- on Bradbourne Vale Road, to help residents marooned by A25 traffic.
And most people would welcome safer walking access to Knole Park - which District and County councillors refused three years ago.
Not rocket science. Just determination to put people first.