MP calls for action over ‘rat run’ Leighton Buzzard road
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Leighton Buzzard MP Andrew Selous is calling for ‘urgent’ road safety measures along Vandyke Road.
Residents have been campaigning for restrictions along the road, to help protect children from two nearby schools.
On Thursday Vandyke Upper School Headteacher, Tim Carroll, showed Mr Selous the dangerous road layout outside his school.
Campaigners say the section of road used to have a single vehicle width restriction which slowed the traffic right down outside the school. The new road layout has introduced a sharp bend next to the school entrance, with no width restriction and no signage in the vicinity to warn motorists of children crossing the road. The junction also has a proposed cycle route on it.
Mr Selous said: “Mr Carroll has raised this issue with me on a number of occasions as well as raising it with local councillors. The new road layout does not have the safety of the old width restriction and it is also a 30-mile-an-hour speed limit when many schools have a 20-mile-an-hour limit outside them. With the children from Gilbert Inglefield Academy, there are 2,200 pupils coming in and out of these two schools every day and road safety should be a paramount consideration. I have written again to Central Bedfordshire Council to ask for urgent road safety measures to be introduced.”
In July the LBO reported campaigners had launched a petition over road safety concerns with residents calling for a 20mph speed restriction in Vandyke Road.
They said there had been numerous accidents due to speeding vehicles damaging parked cars, and risk to safety of pedestrians. They also argued the road has become a 'rat run' into town due to extensive development of new housing estates in the area.
The petition states: “Road safety has become a big concern. There have been numerous accidents due to speeding vehicles causing significant damage to residents' parked cars, and a considerable risk to safety of pedestrians. The two schools combined have a total of 2000 pupils, many of whom walk along Vandyke Road twice a day.”
Resident Hannah Eichler, said: "Cars are being driven on the pavement, because oncoming vehicles will not give way when trying to pass parked cars. Last week we witnessed a school bus driving on the pavement.
She added: “The petition was started following a serious accident, where a van crashed into several cars at the Beaudesert end of the road, causing substantial damage. We also have video content of a car crashing into parked cars, nearly hitting a pedestrian.
“A woman walked by seconds before so it was a near miss. Previously a drunk driver crashed into and wrote off four cars, one being my partner’s van, late at night.”
A spokesman for Central Beds Council said: “Due to the concerns raised, we carried out a survey and analysis of traffic and speed limits along this road. We're using this information, along with comments received from the community, to consider what improvements could be made, including improved signage. This design work will be carried out in the current financial year with the agreed work to be undertaken in 24/25.”