Letters, Friday, May 20th, 2011

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A city of decency and kindness

SOME time ago a writer described Sunderland as a “cloth capped Ruritania”. To me, this implied something akin to a cheap music hall act, and Sunderland, as I have been discovering in abundance lately, rates a far grander stage.

We take the human virtues of the city for granted (or at least I did) and tend to overlook the fact that they evolved over countless years of collective hardship and the concomitant instinct of fellow-feeling and compassion. Those inherited values remain a strong nucleus of the city’s population of all ages.

I make these points because of the recent death of my sister and the resultant kindnesses I have encountered from all quarters of the city, from friends and neighbours, of course, but also from warm-hearted strangers, professionals in disciplines ranging from healthcare to banking and bureaucracy.

In the latter context, there was only one exception, a financial institution whose staff seemed imbued with the very worst of self-serving yuppiedom.

That, however, is an irrelevancy and I mention it only because it is at odds with the big-hearted ethos of Sunderland as a whole.

Sunderland a “cloth capped Ruritania?” Let’s have a change of headgear – namely, a crown that, however informally worm, sparkles with the decency of so many of the citizens of this city.

James Gibbins, Osman Close, Sunderland

Speed humps

CONGRATULATIONS must go to the planner(s) who enlisted local help in modifying the town’s traffic calming on the seafront at Seaham. They must have used pupils from the local primary schools to come up with such a pathetic choice of speed bump.

How else can they explain the reason for such installations? These humps are clearly the work of five-year-olds. They are deterring would-be visitors to the town and annoying townsfolk.

The ambulance-chasing lawyers will have a field day syphoning off the council’s coffers (our money!) as people claim for personal injury or vehicle damage caused by these monstrosities.

All they had to do was replicate the ramp that is directly in front of the Featherbed cafe every 100 yards.

The principal idea was to slow traffic down. However, because of the gaps, motor cyclists can reach unacceptable speeds while their four-wheeled fellow road-users play a game of dodgems and hang on.

If there’s a nationwide award for ridiculous traffic management, surely this one and Sunderland’s Toll Bar entry should be right up there.

Colin Brown, Seaham

AFTER enduring weeks of annoyance and frustration, I am putting pen to paper for my first ever letter to a newspaper.

As a occupant on the East Shore estate, I feel I am well qualified to comment on the farce of the speed bumps on the seafront at Seaham.

Also, why on earth install them so close to junctions? A safe motorist or cyclist is concentrating on the road and conditions ahead, but now has to contend with negotiating a speed hump at exactly the wrong time.

Anyone who drives on this road will see it is an utter farce. Vehicles are parked alongside the far-too-big humps and drivers snake their way up and down the road and will cross over to the other side to negotiate the humps.

It is only a matter of time before someone is injured, or vehicles damaged by a motorist paying attention to only the immediate hazard and not the road ahead.

How on earth is this safe?

The only reason I can think the council have done this is that they plan to put up a kiosk and charge motorists for a rollercoaster ride, as this is what it feels like for commuters coming and going to work every day.

Come on, Seaham Council, sort it out.

E. Stobbart, Seaham

I AGREE with C. Coulthard (Letters, May 12) about speed humps at Seaham.

These humps are far too severe for motorists, and the feedback I get from people coming into Seaham Harbour is how to avoid driving into Seaham along the promenade.

This must be on par with the early-days fiasco of the Toll Bar situation.

Ron Crake, Seaham

Big celebrations

I CAN’T believe how Celtic and Rangers celebrate when they win a trophy.

It’s as much a foregone conclusion as Usain Bolt running a 100m track race against John Prescott.

John Watson, Pensher View, Washington

Thanks to voters

AS the Labour candidate for the St Peter’s Ward in the recent local elections, could I give my thanks to all those who gave me their vote.

Coun Barry Curran, St Peter’s Ward