Mounting concern over rat run street
Residents of one of Tunbridge Wells’ most notorious ‘rat runs’ say dangerous and inconsiderate drivers are putting children’s lives at risk.
Ann Hughes-Wilson, who chairs a new Mereworth Road residents’ association, said thousands of children attend schools nearby and an accident is ‘waiting to happen.’
The mother of four said: “I would love to be able to let my children cycle to school but it’s just not safe. Many who drive down this road do so with such aggression.
“It’s causing a vicious circle because people drive their children, add to the problem and it becomes even less safe. So more end up driving.”
Mrs Hughes-Wilson says that as Mereworth Road lies parallel to the A26, St John’s Road, parents use it to avoid traffic when travelling to the five secondary schools and three primaries in the area.
The main aim of the residents’ association is to pressure Kent County Council into introducing traffic-calming measures, including one-way traffic and dropping the speed limit to 20 mph.
Mrs Hughes-Wilson said: “Every morning, cars surge along our road, often without stopping or giving way leading to ‘Mexican stand-offs.’
“Drivers refuse to pull in, and attempt to pass each other on streets that are too narrow for the volume of traffic.”
Her own car was hit, causing £1,000 damage. But children’s safety concerns her more.
She said: “Someone was hospitalised on this road two years ago, but KCC said that wasn’t enough to dictate change in policy. It’s an accident waiting to happen and I just pray it won’t be any of my kids.”
A KCC spokesman acknowledged the council takes the number of serious accidents into account at each location when deciding whether action should be taken.
But he stressed the council was constrained by resources, adding: “We have to make tough decisions on where to improve traffic and road safety in local areas.
“This means we have to say ‘no’ more than we’d like, especially if the request won’t reduce casualties. We look at the sites most in need of improvement first, which have got the support of the whole community.”