Yet another five car smash on Camden Road…

28 Responses

  1. Nicky says:

    Camden Road needs visible active speed deterrents. Cameras. We all frustrated by the noise and danger of this road. However, it’s a thoroughfare connecting communities and a LTN is not the way forward. The accident happened around 11am – I did not witness but heard – I live opposite. I noticed you around after lunch. I did not go down to join the throng of reliable witnesses. My thoughts to all whose cars have been irreparably damaged and particularly those who particularly needed them. Community is offering help

    • Lucy says:

      It was a terrible incident today, of course. And my thoughts are with those people affected. I agree, Nicky, something like speed cameras would be brilliant. The idea of a bus gate really concerns me though, Jeremy. How are people to get to work every day? Bath is a living city, and Camden Road is a thoroughfare for local residents / workers / visitors alike – we all need to be able to access Bath and the surrounding areas. How would a bus gate even work? And what would it do to the traffic dangers on alternative routes? (Although I’m sure car thieves would happily drive through bus gates.)

      • Jeremy says:

        We’re close neighbours, Lucy. Very happy to talk Liveable Neighbourhoods through with you. It’s the Council’s policy to introduce these. The eventual solution for Walcot won’t be mine or the CRA’s but the Council’s who are employing top consultants, Aecom. As with its predecessor liveable neighbourhoods in Bath, these are implemented using ETROs (Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders) which get implemented and then assessed and adapted and formally consulted on. By 18 months a firm decision is made to adopt the experiment or scrap it.

    • Jeremy Labram says:

      Hi Nicky, The ultimate solution for Walcot, and particularly Camden Road, will be a Council one. LNs are part of their policy and so they are ‘on the table’ as it were.
      Speed cameras might seem like the ideal solution but just as you claim that a modal filter (possibly a bus gate) won’t stop a speed merchant in a stolen car, nor will a speed camera. I’m unaware in this area of any speed cameras operating in 20mph zones – I’m pretty sure Avon and Somerset police are unwilling to pursue any prosecutions. In addition each one only operates in a specific location and leaves motorists able to speed between them.

  2. Tracey says:

    Thanks for this Jeremy. Very sorry to hear that our neighbours have had to deal with this. Jeremy, I would like to know more about the bus gate you mentioned. Where will this proposed bus gate start and end?

    • Jeremy says:

      Hi Tracey. It will be the Council who will decide upon the most appropriate measures to take. The bus gate is one idea but no detailed designs will be done until the funding from WECA is made available. Any implementation would be subject to an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order and would be subject to a full consultation after perhaps six months to a year after implementation. It is only after that, that it could be made permanent. I’m happy to talk through possible options as a layman.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for your comments, Nicky. It is the Council who decides on the measure needed to eradicate this issue. I am going to wait to see what the designers finally come up with once WECA funding is provided.

  4. Guy Hodgson says:

    ‘Accidents’ on the road are vanishingly rare. There are a huge number of crashes and collisions, resulting in 1,700 deaths and 28,000 life changing injuries every year. Most result from law breaking of one type or another. You are right to push to remove through traffic. The resultant reduction in road danger are staggering. It is the amongst the best value public health measure a council can deliver. Good luck.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Thanks, Guy. Pass on my best wishes to Adam. I’m trying to subscribe to your excellent blog but it won’t let me add my email address. Can you or Adam do it on my behalf?

    • Guy Hodgson says:

      If you send details via the website contact form http://www.walkridebath.org.uk or Twitter I can add you. And remember… no ‘accidents’ 😉. Hope you get your filter. It is transformational (there is one outside my window) though needs a good 2 years to bed in. Can’t reverse 70 years of ‘motornormality’ in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!

  6. Nick says:

    I’m one of the affected residents who’s car got smashed up. An LTN would be of course a good idea, but from living opposite the bus stop I see no need for it to jut out into the street as it does, that causes most of the issues.

    • Jeremy says:

      Yes, you pointed that out to me this morning and it has never made much sense to me. I think it is there to stop vehicles passing the bus in either direction and thereby protect passengers who have disembarked and then want to cross the road. Why just this stop I don’t know and as you say it does create a chicane where there might not need to be one.

  7. Kit Routledge says:

    I would welcome the introduction of well considered measures to make our neighbourhood more liveable. Today’s serious accident could so easily have resulted in a much more tragic outcome. Those of us who live along the road see dangerous driving every day. I hope action will be taken before someone is seriously injured. We must each of us be prepared to surrender some personal convenience if necessary to achieve this.

    • Jeremy says:

      This is very much how I currently feel, Kit. If there is some sort of modal filter then as we get the merits of a quieter, safer street, as do all active travellers, we must also be subject to the minor inconvenience too. We are not trying to build ‘Fortress Camden’.

  8. Valerie Jones says:

    Please bear in mind that there is a GP at the end of Camden Road which many people access by the road itself. Not everyone can walk and public transport isn’t a solution to this either. The parking restrictions around the practice mean some people get there an hour earlier in order to make sure they can park!

  9. Jeremy says:

    Thanks, Valerie. We’ll make sure the council’s designers are aware of this .

  10. Kit says:

    Though I embrace the idea, I can understand people’s worries about a bus gate and wonder if it would be practicable to equip the cameras with number plate recognition so that residents needing to enter the bus gate to access their homes could be allowed to do so.

    • Jeremy says:

      The bus gate has been on the council plans. Perhaps every vehicle should be subject to it, other than buses and emergency vehicles, including residents’ vehicles. They get the benefit and share the inconvenience. Plus, try defining a resident in this context – I think it is impossible.

  11. Bob Williams says:

    Jeremy’s right to point out that it’s the Council’s decision though the CRA has been broadly supportive of introducing an LN. We understand that any traffic restrictions would not prevent residents accessing their homes but might make it a bit less convenient. On the other hand, residents might have shorter journeys on quieter roads.

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks, Bob, for moderating me. So let’s be clear, we’re on the list for an LN but funding is required from WECA. This is not yet agreed. The funding, as and when we get it, will initially pay for the design work. It’s then that we can have a discussion about the merits of the solution they come up with. This a council driven initiative which we support in principle.

  12. Adrian Chalkley says:

    Whilst the accident yesterday was presumably caused by reckless driving and speeding the fact that it happened where it did comes of no surprise. Thank god nobody was seriously injured or killed. The spot where the crash happened is on a corner with limited forward visibility, exacerbated by parked cars and the recently installed bike shed ( which I like BTW.) It is also at a point where the road narrows because as previously mentioned the bus-stop juts out into the road. There are two other similar danger spots on Camden Road where there is a blind corner followed by a constricted narrowing road space because of parked cars. These are outside of number 19 Upper Camden Place, and Number 6 Upper Camden Place. You can tell that these are pinch points because its where the traffic always gets snarled up in morning and evening rush hours.
    There is another pinch point outside of Jeremy’s house but isn’t as dangerous as it is on a straight section of road with fairly good visibility – doesn’t stop the road rage stupidity and tooting of horns though. The cynical side of me thinks that the council deliberately use the lines of parked cars as a traffic calming measure – Cheap and they don’t have to pay for the smashed wing mirrors and scrapes down the side of your car. The pinch points outside of number 19 and number 6 UCP are particularly dangerous.
    Whilst the volume of traffic during daytime slows traffic to some extent late in the evening its an entirely different matter. On multiple occasions late at night I have seen cars driving down the road at speeds well over 40mph in a 20mph zone. As you drive up on the left hand side of the road ( coming from Claremont ) towards the bend outside number 19 UCP there is a 20mph roundel on the road and then beyond the crest of the road on the blind corner there is a slow sign on the road. What the point of putting it there is, is absolutely beyond me. You can’t see it until far too late so as signage its pretty much useless. We have already had two cats killed on this corner, the last just before Christmas.
    It’s only a matter of time before a speeding motorist kills of has a serious accident whilst a scooter, cyclist of other driver coming the other direction. The same with the danger spot outside Number 6 UCP. The council seriously need to have a think about how they can force motorists to slow down at these danger spots. Of all the possible solutions, speed camera, illuminating check your speed signs etc, probably the most effective and relatively inexpensive measure the council could take is to put a “proper” speed hump in each of these three locations. When I say proper, I mean one of those speeds humps that isn’t extended to soften the jolt or made like a island so you can simply drive across it at speed. What they need is the rubber bolted into the road short sharp thud kind of speed humps. The kind that you feel might break your axles if you drove over it at more than 30mph. That should give speeding motorists at least some pause for thought. Seriously though the council do need to do something because a serious accident will happen.

  13. Jeremy says:

    There is a lot in what you say, Adrian. To some extent the peak hours regulate speed quite well because the chicanes make the road effectively single lane and there is virtually continual traffic in both directions. As you say outside these times drivers can get a free run which probably can be quite ‘exciting’ to some of them. You may remember we had a vehicle activated speed sign installed for two weeks in 2019. The data showed without it being switched on 62% of motorists were speeding. It halved with the sign in use, but still nearly 10% were speeding at over 30mph, and it still had novelty value at that stage. If you use the search function on the web site (magnifying glass, top right of the CRA home page), and put in VAS, you’ll get there.
    The more obstacles we put in, the more ‘fun’ it is for some. A speed table can be highly dangerous causing a car to lift off the ground, be thereby unsteerable, and then bounce and still be out of control. I’ve been driven in a car that did just that.
    The bottom line is that is this type of driving cannot be eradicated using traditional traffic calming measures – if anything it makes it worse. It requires through traffic being thwarted from using the street as a cut through, hence finally, we are now on the list for a liveable neighbourhood. The design work is not yet started and awaits sign off by West of England Combined Authority to use their designated fund for this. I’ve written to WECA today requesting that yesterday’s crash and earlier ones are taken into consideration. It’s not a theoretical threat – it’s a reality all users and residents of Camden Road live with all the time.

    • Kit says:

      Thank you for writing to the WECA Jeremy. It is very important that they keep the memory of this latest incident, together with all those that preceded it, in sharp focus when they are making their decision. I agree that the introduction of more traffic calming measures is unlikely to help much.

  14. Vernon Herridge says:

    Camden Road residents do have the luxury of being able to walk into Bath and back again (there will be exceptions of course). The centre of Bath is reasonably close by.
    Residents living in Larkhall, Fairfield Park and Charlcombe would all be affected if this bus gate is installed at the health centre, Camden Crescent or halfway along

  15. Adrian Kerr says:

    What about effective speed cushions/sleeping policeman? French villages are 20mph; try going above that over one of their humps and you’ll put a head shaped bump in your roof. Guess potential car damage trumps road safety. There was a comment (Larkhall resident) on the cesspit that is Nextdoor suggesting that cars parked on the road forcing people to chicane was at fault!

  16. Nick says:

    I’ll be putting out the sandbags at this rate.

  17. Adrian Chalkley says:

    Thanks Jeremy. I have taken a look at the VAS data. Very interesting and shows how many motorists speed down Camden Road, when its not busy. Not entirely sure that I agree with you about the speed humps. Yes the Speed Table and Island Type speed humps I agree are pretty useless and do little to encourage motorists to slow down. In fact, I think the Island type are actually dangerous as drivers look at lining their wheels up centrally so they can pass over the obstruction with minimum braking rather than looking at the road. They type of speed humps that Adrian Kerr and I are talking about cause a real jolt when you drive over them and they cannot be navigated around or otherwise avoided. They are probably the most inexpensive option to install and they absolutely work in getting people to slow. Thanks for all your work in exploring options. The liveable neighbourhood scheme and a “bus gate” presumably in Claremont, would be nice for me living at the west end of Camden Road but I do worry where all the morning East to West traffic is going to go and whether we are simply pushing our problem and congestion elsewhere. Will Fairfield Road, Solsbury Way, Richmond Heights, Richmond Road become the new East West morning detour? Presumably it can’t all go down the London Road, which is already hugely congested. Have you also explored stopping HGVs, Coaches, Refuse Collection lorries using Camden Road during rush hour. Removing them from the equation would significantly ease congestion.

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