Keynsham residents' anger at another year with no improvements to 'death trap' Wellsway road

February 01 2019
Keynsham residents' anger at another year with no improvements to 'death trap' Wellsway road

A Keynsham woman who believes the road outside her house is a “death trap” says she was shocked to be told nothing will be done to improve pedestrians’ safety for at least another year.

Gemma Mitchell and her neighbours on the Wellsway appeared in Keynshamvoice 18 months ago in August 2017 to voice their concerns over speeding cars and vehicles frequently mounting the narrow pavements just outside their homes near the junction with Bath Hill.

They told Keynshamvoice how they had been clipped by wing mirrors on passing cars while one driver crashed into a garden wall and another hit a telegraph pole as they lost control on the corner.

Gemma suffered another near-miss in the months following the article when a 4x4 mounted the pavement just outside her garden gate as she was stepping out onto the path to catch the bus one morning.

Now the mum-of-three, who says she suffers “crippling anxiety” that one of her children will be involved in an accident outside their home, has written to Bath and North East Somerset Council to say she will “hold them responsible” should someone be seriously hurt or worse after being told the stretch of road had not been included in planned road improvements for the year ahead.

A letter from the council’s traffic management department explains that any road schemes must be included in the approved Transport Improvement Plan (TIP) before they can progress – but the length of the Wellsway in question was not in the TIP for this year or 2019/20.

Gemma said: “Since the last article I have been very disappointed at the lack of action. The council painted a 20mph sign on the road, which no one takes any notice of, and we have occasionally had a temporary flashing sign on the road – which initially faced the wrong way and then ran out of batteries.

“Family, neighbours and I have had a number of near-misses which makes me fear there is going to be a fatal or life-changing accident sooner or later. It’s down to luck there hasn’t been anything more serious. I fail to understand how the council can ignore this situation.”

Residents have called for speed tables near the junction to slow traffic and raised kerbs to stop vehicles driving onto the pavements – but Gemma said both suggestions had received a negative response from B&NES in the letter. Speed tables could create noise and increase air pollution as vehicles braked and accelerated while a raised kerb could make it harder for pedestrians to cross or to pass each other by stepping into the road, it said.

Gemma said: “There has been nothing positive in B&NES’ response - every idea we have had has been turned down, and they have made no suggestions for improvements or how we can stay safe. I’m just so fed up they haven’t done anything.”

Keynsham councillor Bryan Organ said he shared residents’ concerns about what he felt was a “very dangerous corner” and had visited the site with B&NES transport chief Mark Shelford during a tour of Keynsham to look at issues on various roads. A number of schemes in the town had been given the go-ahead as a result, he said, but a number of issues on the Wellsway, including a pedestrian crossing further along, had not been approved.

He said: “Across Keynsham things are improving slowly with the finances and facilities available, but there is still a lot of work to be done. This is a dangerous corner with a very narrow pavement and I hope we can do more about it and it is still being looked at.”

A spokesperson for B&NES Council told Keynshamvoice: “The council is currently reviewing how schemes are assessed and prioritised – once this work this has been completed the highways team will formally assess this section of Wellsway again.

“However, further improvements to this 20mph section of Wellsway are not included in the forthcoming Transport Improvement Programmes (TIP).

“Priority is given to roads or locations where the need is greatest, for example where there is a history of injury accidents or where there are no facilities for pedestrians.”