New traffic-calming measures approved for Sunderland road after speeding problems

New traffic-calming measures to improve safety and tackle speeding on a Sunderland road have been given the stamp of approval.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 6:11 pm
Dovedale Road

Sunderland City Council previously approved a policy to bring in new 20mph zones throughout the city in residential areas where issues had been highlighted.

One such area was Seaburn Dene in the Fulwell ward, with council investigations finding that vehicles were regularly travelling through main routes at more than 30mph at peak times.

Council officers also confirmed that some high speeds had reached the 46mph-51mph bracket.

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To complement the proposed 20mph zone, it was identified that pedestrians using Dovedale Road and nearby streets would benefit from improvements to an existing pedestrian refuge.

This included upgrading the crossing point between Torver Crescent and Bampton Avenue with a ‘raised speed table,' associated alterations to kerbs/footways and new paving.

A report prepared for councillors this week said the existing pedestrian crossing is used by a large number of pupils from nearby schools and residents accessing the main bus stop on Dovedale Road.

The report added that the new speed table would “force drivers to comply with the [new] 20mph zone speed limit" at the crossing point and "ensure pedestrian safety.”

As part of the legal process for the changes, a traffic regulation order(TRO) for the 20mph zone and raised speed table were publicised.

Due to a single public objection, the proposed TRO was called before the council’s Planning and Highways (East) Committee for decision on Monday, June 7.

According to a statement included in a council report, the objector had no issues with the 20mph scheme but was objecting to the the speed table, saying it would have a “direct impact" on their property.

Concerns included loss of property value and increased noise and emissions, due to more cars slowing down at the speed table.

The objector also said there had been no accidents at the crossing point near Torver Crescent, which indicated that the current measures in place were “more than adequate.”

However the city's transport department, responding in a report, said that there was no evidence to suggest there would be a reduction in the value of properties where speed tables are situated.

Engineering technican Stephen Dixon, speaking at the planning meeting at Sunderland Civic Centre this week, also stressed the safety benefits of the traffic calming measures.

He said: "What's worth pointing out is yes, there hasn't been an accident at that crossing, which we're all really pleased about.

"But as a council we sometimes get criticised for waiting for accidents to occur and this is a great opportunity to be proactive.

"Let's not wait for somebody to be knocked over or seriously injured and lets try and stop that from happening before it does."

The stance was shared by councillors Stephen Foster and Steven Bewick, who both voiced their support at the meeting.

Cllr Bewick added: "I know residents probably don't want [speed tables] outside their property for whatever reasons but I think something like this we should encourage more across the city.

"I think it's a good proposal."

Following discussion, councillors on the Planning and Highways (East) Committee agreed to reject the objection, in line with a recommendation from council officers.

Following the decision, council officers will take "all necessary action'' to bring forward the traffic calming scheme.

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