New lay-by ‘not helping’ congestion

Parking peril: Peterlee councilor Don Milsom and PCSO Kelly Taylor
Parking peril: Peterlee councilor Don Milsom and PCSO Kelly Taylor

A COUNCILLOR claims a newly-installed lay-by near a revamped school is doing nothing to combat traffic problems on an already-congested road.

Peterlee councillor Don Milsom and local residents appeared in the Hartlepool Mail in February fearing an accident could happen once a new path giving pupils access to The Academy at Shotton Hall from Durham Way was opened.

Locals said the new path would make it impossible for motorists to get off the Oakerside Park estate, which is home to about 3,000 people, when parents are picking up and dropping off their children.

Durham County Council chiefs had said they were looking at a dedicated pick-up and drop-off point at the Passfield Way entrance to the school.

But now a new lay-by has been installed in Durham Way, Coun Milsom, who is working with police to try to resolve the issue, says the traffic problem is worse.

He said: “This has not solved the problem.

“Cars are now parking in the lay-by from about 2.15pm and then continue to park opposite the lay-by, on the road and on the grass verge.

“In this area there is a bus stop and I’ve witnessed elderly people getting off this bus stop dangerously in the middle of the road.

“Drivers are doing U-turns which I know are not illegal, but do cause many problems.”

Coun Milsom called for yellow lines to be painted along Durham Way to combat congestion on the road, where he says a local traffic survey recorded some motorists driving at 50pm in the 30mph zone.

The county council’s strategic highways manager Dave Wilcox said: “The council provided a lay-by to provide some additional space for parents dropping off and collecting pupils with support from local members, Councillors Joan Maslin and Len O’Donnell.

“Further measures were taken in liaison with the team developing the school to reinstate the bus turning area as a drop off/pick up point on Passfield Way to provide additional facilities and with public safety needs at their heart.

“In addition, the council is introducing a set of parking and waiting regulations in both Passfield Way and Durham Way to restrict where motorists can stop, again to make the area safer for pedestrians.

“The aim of all these measures is to spread pupil drop off and collection over a greater area rather than at the front gate and reduce some of the congestion.

“I would also like to issue a plea to parents and guardians to allow a little extra time for their journey and not to pull up so close to the school but to walk the last part of the route.

“This measure alone would greatly improve both the safety of pupils and the congestion issues in the vicinity.”