Regular accidents on the A629 Penistone Road in Huddersfield have prompted local campaigners to call for traffic lights, crossing zones and a reduction in the speed limit in a bid to slow the route and safeguard pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
The area around Fenay Bridge is a particularly hotspot with the section from Morrisons supermarket to Woodsome Road coming under scrutiny.
Publication of the results of a Department for Transport (DfT) speed limit review prompted Coun Alison Munro to ask Kirklees Council to reveal what plans it had for addressing speeding vehicles on that section, known locally as “the mad mile”.
In response senior Kirklees Coun Naheed Mather, the cabinet member for environment, said according to the speed limit review the “vast majority” of the borough’s 1,180 miles of roads – including Penistone Road, are “currently appropriate for the environment which they travel through.”
She said wholesale changes “are not appropriate” in line with DfT guidelines in setting local speed limits and, as a consequence, the council “has no current plans” to change the speed limits on Penistone Road between its junction with Morrisons and its junction with Woodsome Road.
However the position could be reviewed if there are changes in the frequency, severity, types and causes of collisions, the “geometry” of the road (such as width and sightlines), changes in through traffic, the “composition” of road users, existing traffic speeds and the road environment, which includes the level of roadside development and possible impact on residents.
Asked for her thoughts on the council’s response, Coun Munro said: “We all know speed kills! A pedestrian hit at 30mph has a significant chance of being killed or may sustain serious injuries. This rises significantly to a one in three chance if they are hit at 35mph.
“Despite the results of the review, this council is happy to accept its findings but only lower speeds on some school roads, which is welcome news. Perhaps though they have forgotten we need safe roads for everyone, especially blackspots.“
Hundreds of new homes are set to be built on three sites in Fenay Bridge and Lepton on land around Penistone Road. Traffic will enter the A629 via a new roundabout close to Woodsome Road.
It has prompted fears that local infrastructure – including roads – will not be able to cope with rising numbers of cars, as well as construction vehicles during the building period.
The area around the Fenay Lane and Station Road junctions has been described as “a death trap” for people turning right from Fenay Bridge Road “due to cars travelling at speed from the Penistone direction around a blind bend.”