Review over call for stricter traffic-calming measures in Sandwell

Calls for stricter traffic-calming measures in Sandwell are to be reviewed, as councillors on both sides of the chamber agreed more was needed to be done to reduce vehicle collisions.

The motion, proposed by Sandwell Conservatives, was discussed on Tuesday evening at Sandwell Council’s first full meeting of the year.

The measures have been put forward include a “strict limit” to the amount of vehicle collisions that can occur on any one road before the council launches an investigation.

Councillor Archer Williams, who proposed the motion, said: “Residents throughout Sandwell have highlighted innumerable roads and streets that continue to experience speeding, close calls, and speeding collisions.

“They often report accidents and dangers to the council in the hope of producing solutions via speeding calming measures. Unfortunately, instead of finding solutions, they run into walls with the council.

“The council usually gives them reasons why the road or street of concern does not need any speed calming measures. Often, the number of collisions does not impact their inquiries, as the council and police are very reluctant to introduce speed calming measures until fatalities occur.”

Councillor Williams cited six separate accidents on Bliston Road over past five years, including one with three vehicles and two women, a teenage girl, and a man who had to be taken to hospital.

He said: “It discourages me that I know we would have had the necessary speed measure implementation in place by now if one of those collisions was a resident.

“I know the council has the will and potential to make a difference across the borough regarding this issue, which is why I am asking both sides of the political spectrum to vote for this motion. Let’s come together on the issue and make our streets safer.”

In November, a 12-year-old girl was knocked down by a car while on her way to school. She was left with a broken collar bone, a fractured foot, and swollen lip after the accident in Oldbury.

And on New Year’s Eve, Olivia Kolek, 14, was tragically struck and killed by a grey Mercedes in Rowley Regis.

Councillor Ahmed Bostan, cabinet member for environment, said: “Members from across both sides of this council agree that road safety and the safety of our roads is our absolute importance.

“Approximately 800 accidents take place every year, but we must bear in mind that since the year 2000, this is a 55 per cent reduction. There has been a 72 per cent reduction in those serious accidents concerning children.

“At the same time, I accept there is always room for improvement. I would propose that our road safety plan is reviewed and approved by our economy, skills, transport and environment scrutiny board.”

Councillor Bob Pipersaid: “I don’t disagree with a lot of this resolution to be honest.

“[Sandwell council] using the number of accidents caused by speed which result in injury, not fatalities, reported to the police, is a crude measure. And it can sometimes appear to be a cruel measure.

“It gives the impression that we want children to be hurt before we actually do anything about it.”

Councillor Piper said an “adult conversation” was needed to change the policy but criticised the “vague” wording of the motion.

“The motion’s first line about a ‘strict limit’ is quite vague. I don’t even know what that means.

“What we want is to have a policy worked out, and the suggestion from Councillor Boston that we refer this to the scrutiny board and then cabinet is the way to do it.”

Councillor Piper also criticised the Government’s decision to cut policing over the years.

“The residents in my ward don’t just want a speed ramp that boy racers can race over and cause disruption to everybody, they actually want enforcement," he said.

“We’ve cut the number of speed police massively over the last 10 years. We’ve got speed cameras, including in my ward, where they have had no film in them.

“People in my ward want to see people caught by speed cameras, caught by police out on traffic duty, and in court for doing it. That is what we want to see – not a wishy-washy resolution proposing ‘strict limits’ on how we do these things.”

The amended motion, to review road safety at the next economy, skills, transport and environment scrutiny board was unanimously carried.

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