New painted lines for Keynsham High Street

THE painting of new lines in Keynsham High Street should make it safer for pedestrians, say council bosses.

Bath & North East Somerset Council made the announcement following a road safety report.

More than 100 people have been injured in trips and falls since the cycle lane was installed.

A date for painting the new lines had not been announced at the time of posting.

The council said the work would be carried out overnight to lessen disruption to businesses and traffic.

It added that the new double-yellow lines, adjacent to the kerb between the cycle lane and carriageway, would provide an additional cue to pedestrians.

The solid white line marking the edge of cycle lane would also be replaced with a broken white line to better delineate it from the kerb.

But the council’s announcement has been criticised by a councillor who has been leading calls for action to make the High Street safe.

Councillor Alan Hale said: “I am very disappointed that officers felt it appropriate to issue a press release widely to the media without giving the six Keynsham district councillors who have been working cross party on it an opportunity to read and study it properly.

“In the time I have had, I do note that the auditors have recommended tactile edging to the pavement in order to more readily delineate the kerb edge.

“However, the scheme designers, in dismissing the suggestion, have in my opinion responded somewhat arrogantly and patronisingly saying that ‘There is a question, however, as to whether the users of Keynsham High Street would understand what the tactile paving means and whether they would deter people stepping off the kerb line in this manner’.

“They also question whether it meets the scheme’s heritage objectives, hardly a consideration if over 100 people have been casualties, many serious, of this ill-devised scheme.

“I also believe that the number of casualties has been marked down from what has been and continues to be happening.

“The auditors have in their opening summary stated ‘there is clearly some combination of factors in this location (and not any that are clearly identifiable to the Audit Team) which mean that there is a risk of pedestrian  trips/falls.’

“It seems to me that the council administration have spent good money on an audit but, having received the results, they together with the officers and the design team have decided to dismiss what they have been told.

“And so the likely outcome of that ‘head in the sand’ attitude is that we can expect more serious injuries, and that is totally unfair to and dismissive of the welfare of those people that I and my fellow district councillors in Keynsham represent.”

The council’s latest road safety report says the previous audit team had been wrong in predicting that falls would decline over time.

It added: “The 50mm height kerb between the cycleway and footway is not clearly visible (and further reduced at night) and it is clear from the number of incidents reported since opening that this has led to a number of pedestrian trips/falls.

“It is clear that a large proportion of these are related to pedestrians walking along, rather than crossing, High Street, whether that be because they are stepping around other pedestrians or they simply have not recognised the presence of the kerb.”

Councillor Paul Roper, cabinet member for economic and cultural sustainable development, said of the new painted lines: “This mitigation should make the change in levels clearer to pedestrians and prevent further trips and falls.

“We are grateful for people’s patience while the audit was undertaken and the road safety report compiled, which we are acting on.”