Impatient motorists drive on pavement to shave seconds off their Northampton commute

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Impatient drivers undertake residents of a Northampton street by going on the pavement in order to shave seconds off their commute, it has been claimed.

But neighbours who have complained to Northamptonshire County Council about Oaklands Drive, Westone, becoming a dangerous rat run have been told a series of series accidents have to happen before traffic calming measures can be considered.

Hayden Andrews said: “There have been several accidents caused by speeding cars trying to get around the Wellingborough Road traffic lights including one with my wife and another two weeks ago. Because its a straight road, I’d say vehicles can get up to 60mph.

“But, because there’s been no injuries, we are not a priority for money to be spent slowing them down.

“We’re basically waiting for a serious accident.”

Mr Andrews and several neighbours have all experienced aggressive driving by morning and evening commuters desperate to circumvent queues at the Booth Lane South/ Wellingborough Road junction.

Several have reported cars mounting the pavement to get around residents vehicles that they consider to be driving too slowly and cutting corners on the roundabout at the end of Oaklands Drive. Some even drive the wrong way around the roundabout to save time, neighbours told the Chron.

Neighbour Robert Shapcott said: “Between 8am and 8.45am you could easily count 300 cars. They screech round the roundabout, they sometimes even go over it.”

Northamptonshire Police have been approached to use speed guns in order to collect evidence to present to Northamptonshire County Council. However no scheme has yet been approved. The police said they were looking into the reasons.

Helen Howard, a community liaison officer, replied to councillor Anna King on the matter.

She pointed out that drivers “have a right to drive on the roads around the Westone Estate as much as any other road” and claimed traffic calming can cause more problems than it solves.

She gave the examples that road humps can produce pollution due to vehicles slowing up to, and accelerating away from the humps, as well as noise and vibration problems. Certain schemes might also impede emergency services.

However she said the overriding factor for taking no action is “a very low recorded collision history”.

Between September 1 2012 to August 31 2015 there has been a single injury collision in or near Oaklands Drive.

Mrs Howard said: “Clearly we do not want this to change, but every section of road network represents a risk to one road user or another and our policy, which we successfully adopted some years ago, has always been to direct funding to where it is most needed using an evidence-led, collision data approach.

“This ensures that our limited funding streams are utilised on interventions where we can identify a rate of return in terms of reduced road casualties.

“I can advise that any significant engineering measures at this location would not be a priority within our extensive programme, and we cannot justify the diversion of significant funds away from other sections of our network which require more immediate attention.”