Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Railings - De-cluttering?

Merton Council's coffers are cluttered with too much taxpayers' cash, so they're spending it on 'de-cluttering'.

De-cluttering - that's the latest trendy thing in street-design circles. It basically means removing railings, and other 'unnecessary' street furniture. Now the theory goes that railings encourage drivers to regard the road as their own, with incursions from pedestrians only permitted at certain places. Removing railings should 'create uncertainty' and encourage drivers to be more aware of pedestrians. You'll have seen railings removed from Morden Road and in Wimbledon Town Centre. You'll notice in the Town Centre, a lot of bikes used to be locked to the railings, so the Council have had to replace the railings with Sheffield stands. You'll also notice that Sheffield stands are rather similar to railings.
I'm just an ignorant council-tax payer, so I rather miss the point of this. The street is still pretty choked with traffic most of the time, going faster than the 20MPH limit, they've not put in any trees or flowerbeds, the same light-controlled pedestrian crossings are there...so what's the point, other than giving someone at the Council something to do that burns through a pile of cash?

Now while removing the railings in the Town Centre is pointless, removing them from Morden Road is downright dangerous. The pavements are very narrow along Morden Road, traffic is very heavy and speeds are generally quite high. There are no pedestrian crossings for a good mile. It's also a notorious accident blackspot. I've personally witnessed 4 accidents including one where a car mounted the pavement and hit a lamppost. Now, if they wanted to remove the railings, lower traffic speeds and volumes, widen the pavement, put in a proper cycle/bus lane it would make sense, but no, they are doing nothing about road danger, and removing the only thing that prevents another car from mounting the pavement. And spending taxpayers' money doing it! It's no wonder drivers regard Morden Road as their own - that's because it continues to be their own, and removing a couple of railings ain't gonna change that!

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