Road safety in Leighton Buzzard must be prioritised over residents’ desire to park close to their property, says council

More than 140 responses received to proposals for 'no waiting restrictions' at 27 locations

By Euan Duncan
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 5:36 pm

Residents opposed to new double yellow lines at some junctions close to Leighton Buzzard town centre have obtained concessions over two parts of the planned project.

More than 140 responses were received by Central Bedfordshire Council to its proposals for 'No waiting restrictions' at 27 locations to address pedestrian safety and vehicle access concerns. Read more hereParking close to junctions raises a safety issue for pedestrians who may not be seen by approaching vehicles when crossing a road, according to a CBC highways report to its traffic management meeting.

"Pedestrians may be forced to cross the road from between parked vehicles," said the report.

Double yellow lines

"This behaviour can prevent dropped kerbs being available for those needing to use them, often more vulnerable people using a mobility scooter or wheelchair, or those with young children in a pushchair.

"A number of the junctions that are included in this scheme are in areas where there's a high demand for on-street parking.

"As an authority, we must prioritise the safety of all road users over residents’ desire to park close to their property."

Conservative Leighton Buzzard South councillor Amanda Dodwell said on her website: "Many residents have expressed concerns to me about where these proposals will result in the loss of on-street parking close to their properties."

She asked in a statement for the reduction of available street parking to be kept to a minimum.

"This will just create pockets of speed," warned resident Gareth Goring-Farrow, who's lived in South Street for 15 years.

"It's hoped vehicles will slow down. We need more than hope for children crossing that road. You need to do something more proactive to slow vehicles down."

Independent Linslade councillor Victoria Harvey, who's also a town councillor for the area, said: "If you walk around this area in the evening, there's the most massive parking problem.

"There's a real shortage of parking spaces. There's not a problem with fire engines and refuse lorries turning in at these junctions.

"This is the first stage of a wider strategy. But I'm concerned the links to the rest of that aren't being explored.

"One option is a residents parking zone, while another is a car share scheme, which with a little support from the council could be implemented.

"I would urge you not to go for yellow lines particularly by Cutlers Way and Albany Road, but put that money towards supporting car sharing, and investigating safe pedestrian crossings for children."

Team leader traffic management Paul Salmon explained: "We try to manage parking in the highway. It's not the authority's responsibility to provide parking on the public highway.

"That's designed to be kept clear as an unimpeded thoroughfare for all. The cycle lane removal may seem contradictory, but there's an area where we can put in some parking."

Conservative Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno, who chairs the meeting, said: "All of these are proposed to ensure the public are complying with the highway code.

"I recognise there's an impact in doing that, which I'm trying to minimise. Car sharing is outside the remit of my role today."

He opted not to implement the full restrictions around Cutlers Way and South Street for now, and not to proceed with yellow lines at the Albany Road junction with South Street, which received 49 responses from residents.