April 22, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

Traffic calming measures in Canton spark calls for proper public consultation

TRAFFIC calming measures about to be installed in Canton have sparked calls from affected residents for a proper public consultation.

Lansdowne Road is a main route from the west of Cardiff into the city centre. The residential street suffers regularly from cars driving too fast, and parents driving their children to school.

Cardiff council is proposing to put in speed tables — like speed bumps but longer — and bollards. A pedestrian crossing near Lansdowne Primary School will also be upgraded.

But residents living on the road are complaining the council has not properly consulted them. While most agree to the need for traffic calming measures, they said the council was just “going through the motions” with its consultation, not considering alternative suggestions.

Nick Morris, who lives on Lansdowne Road, said:

“In November last year, we became aware through a neighbour of a consultation the council was doing on the street design. Quite a few residents here have had concerns and a lot of questions about the proposals.

“It became clear that any of the questions related to what other options were being considered for the street, the council didn’t seem to have considered them. I got a strong impression that they were consulting on what they had already decided to do.”

He and several other residents suggested to the council that speed cameras could help. But they were told this wasn’t an option.

A Cardiff council spokesperson said:

“Speed cameras are operated by the Wales Casualty Reduction Partnership, known as GoSafe, and are provided as set out in the site criteria document published by the National Police Chiefs Council and the Welsh Government.”

Abdul Chowdhury also lives on Lansdowne Road, with his disabled mother. The council is planning to put bollards on the pavement outside his house, where he and a few neighbours usually park. The wide pavement has been used for car parking for decades, residents said.

But now the council has told them parking on the pavement is not permitted and “residents are committing an offence by driving on the footway”. The council’s response to the consultation added pavement parking inconveniences pedestrians and those in wheelchairs.

The pavement outside Mr Chowdhury’s house is wide enough to fit a car and still have plenty of space for pedestrians or wheelchair users. No bollards are proposed just farther up the road, near Norfolk Street, where cars are often parked on the narrower pavement.

Mr Chowdhury said: “My mother needs to be hoisted from her wheelchair into the car, so I need to park my car close to the house. I don’t know where I’ll park if they put bollards here. I did raise my concerns to the council, but they didn’t want to know.”

Richard Davies, who lives next door, has parked his car on the pavement there for 20 years without a problem, until now. He is calling for the council to formalise the arrangement that has been in place, rather than force him and his neighbours to park elsewhere.

He said:

“There was no communication or explanation. When we park on the pavement here, there’s plenty of space. It has never been explained why they want to put bollards outside our houses. I have no idea what their thinking is … or where I’ll park my car.

“There are issues here with the school run, but they haven’t dealt with that at all. They’re determined to push on with it with no explanation. When I put in a complaint, it just disappeared into thin air. They should come down and have a proper consultation with us.”

The council ran a public consultation with people living in the area last year, from November 7 until December 12. Several residents complained they did not receive letters through the post about the consultation. The council said it wrote to 570 homes about its proposals.

Only 26 responses to the consultation were received. Of these, the council said 14 supported the scheme. A spokesperson said: “Everyone in the immediate area was given the opportunity to reply to the consultation.”

However, a freedom of information request revealed that while many respondents supported traffic calming measures in general, they criticised the public consultation and the specific measures proposed, calling instead for alternatives to be considered.

One respondent said: “Reading on your website, the residents have apparently been informed. But we have had no information whatsoever, never mind a chance to put our views across. We have been excluded from this process for too long, it’s a disgrace.”

Another said: “I have only just heard about the plans to improve traffic on Lansdowne Road. It would have been nice to have had some notice in regards to the changes that are supposedly going to happen regardless of discussion with the people who will be affected.”

The work is due to begin in the summer, the council said. The speed tables and bollards are supposed to make the street safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

A council spokesperson said:

“The Lansdowne Road scheme includes the upgrading of a signal-controlled pedestrian crossing, and provision of traffic calming on Lansdowne Road. The crossing is very well used by pupils travelling to Lansdowne Primary School.

“The scheme forms part of the Safe Routes in Communities, Canton project. This area-wide initiative seeks to create a safer environment for active travel — walking and cycling — in the Canton area.

“A key focus is on providing safer active travel routes to five local schools. But the improvements will also support access to amenities within the wider area. The scheme is due to be constructed in the summer.”

Residents are now calling for a pause to the work and proper public consultation to be done.

Mr Morris said:

“People want to be more involved. They do agree with the principle: we recognise cars go too fast around here. But the way it’s happening, they don’t feel part of the change.

“These are quite long term changes to the streets around here. We need to make sure all the users are getting to be part of it, and all the options are being considered, so we get what’s best for everybody.”

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