Mad, scary and bad

Surviving the walk to school each morning

So long and thanks for all the fish

How far we’ve come in four months.  Together, we have;2013-01-10 photo 3 smaller

  • Supported the successful application for a school car park, with a tonne of visual evidence of just how bad it can be,
  • Seen to it that dangerous potholes by the school were fixed within a matter of hours,
  • Hugely relieved the chaos of Wednesday mornings, by persuading Cheshire East to reschedule bin collections,
  • Built up a greater awareness amongst road users, people appear more patient, hang back to let others come through,
  • Seen buses taking greater care along Broad Lane,
  • Improved safety for pedestrians outside the school, with a massive reduction in drivers stopping on the lines.

We’ve amassed 61 posts, 300 photos and 24 videos, many from other concerned parents.  These contributions, comments and discussions have all helped make Broad Lane safer.

2013-01-11 photo 2 smallerBut we’re not there yet.

The school car park is still to come.  We await the decision of Cheshire East’s planning board on 30 January that will determine the future traffic on this country road.

However, this blog has run its course in reporting the daily situation.   There’s far fewer things of note happening during our walk to school.  We will be keeping our eyes and ears open.  When things happen that you will be interested in, I’ll post them here.  Until then, many thanks for your support, contributions and interest.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 6
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 9
No. of cars parking illegally:0

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Pothole strikes back

After the calm of yesterday’s walk, where there was nothing to report, this morning saw us back to “normal”.

A misty, yet warm, January morning greeted us.  This isn’t what we’ve come to expect over the past few years, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

2013-01-09 photo 6 smallerTraffic was high this morning, especially lorries (I counted 5 in just 10 minutes), not helping the already damaged road.  A neighbour told me this morning that the road structure was apparently not designed or built to cope with the volume of traffic, let alone the number of heavy goods vehicles.  Hence the surface failures we’re now seeing along much of Broad Lane alongside the path.

2013-01-09 photo 10 smallerWhilst this jam was building, another grew behind us, bringing the area close to gridlock!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Son of pothole
2013-01-09 photo 12 smallerNow that the surface water has drained away from outside school, another big pothole is visible.  There’s lots of what looks like diesel oil spread over the path, along with road debris.  The pothole already appears to have claimed the tyre of one car.  I’ve reported the fault to Cheshire East, emphasising the danger this presents to children, pedestrians and motorists, also the rapid expansion of the hole.  They’ve told me there should be a highways team on-site in the next few days.

Last month’s temporary repair has been made good over the Christmas break (you can see it towards the bottom of the photo above).  However, looking at the road surface, there’s a strip of about 10-15m of road further south that looks like it is about to fail too.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 6
No. of cars parking illegally:0

We’re back

Happy New Year to you, I hope that you had a good Christmas/New Year break.

2013-01-07 photo 3 smallerIt seems like a long time since our last walk to school. After a few weeks of waking up that little bit later, it was a bit depressing to see darkness outside this morning.  Still, a new term beckoned, with a lovely mild morning.  Hard to believe that we’re in the middle of winter.

2013-01-07 photo 8 smallerOur walk was thankfully quiet today, with cars parking up to the 30mph signs (nearly half a mile from school).  Up ahead we could see a couple of sticky situations; a massive lorry squeezing through on the pavement nearer to school; then further towards Nantwich a logjam that didn’t move until we were nearly at school.

What’s all this then?
Something caught my eye last weekend; a  letter of support for Nantwich South from 14 Broad Lane.  Curious to see where this house was in relation to the proposed roundabout on Broad Lane, I had a look for it.  On the ground the house numbers jump from 12 to 20, with no room for any buildings between them.  So this letter is from someone living at an imaginary house. An imaginary house that has the same postcode as dwellings nearly 1 mile away!

The situation became even more farcical when I read the three letters uploaded from this imaginary address.  Letters two and three come from other imaginary houses, on misspelt roads with random postcodes for completely different places.  8 out of 10 for creativity, as for honesty…?

Luckily, Cheshire East’s reply to my email about the “bogus” letters seems to indicate that the volume of comments doesn’t count, just whether they raise “material planning considerations”.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 8
No. of cars parking illegally:0

Vanishing Holes

Pothole Cam
Thank you, Cheshire East Highways team.

They’ve taken action with a temporary repair to our local pothole.  Looks like the road condition has been assessed in readiness for a longer term repair in the near future too.

The red line show's yesterday's approximate size

09:00 today

pot hole repaired 2012-12-20 photo 1 smaller

11:30 today

Jam packed

Welcome to our final walk to school for this year, as Christmas holidays start tomorrow.  I’m glad not to be running the gauntlet for the next couple of weeks.

2012-12-20 photo 015 smallerBut what a finish to the school term it has been!

Our local pothole is growing larger by the hour.  Being difficult to spot at night, several vehicles have had tyres damaged or ruined by this massive hole.  There was much speculation on the footpath this morning about how big it would be when school returns next month.  Take a look below at how much it’s grown today.

Chaos reigned today, a combination of negotiating a broken down car, the pothole and the sheer volume of traffic (lorries and cars).  On the way back from school, the stand-off was bad, so I suggested to some drivers that they might want to reverse back into nearby spaces – enabling oncoming traffic to get by.  Even then, vehicles were driving up along the path. The only safe option was to shelter in a handy driveway until it was all unclogged.

2012-12-20 photo 011 smallerCongratulations – the final award of 2012 for stopping on zig-zags goes to this car driver, who stopped just north of the mayhem to drop their child off for school!!!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pothole Cam

The red line show's yesterday's approximate size

The red line show’s yesterday’s approximate size

Our local pothole has grown overnight, it’s now around 3-4 feet in length and throwing up lots of debris onto the footpath. I’ve already heard of two cars that have had tyres ruined by this pothole. Another car was so badly damaged by the pothole that it had to be left on the side of the road. Not the best place to leave it, as the car is getting damaged by passing traffic, but at that time of night, the driver had little choice.

 

I hope you have a safe, relaxing and merry Christmas and New Year holiday.
See you in January.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 6
No. of cars parking illegally:1

Keep on moving…

Waterproof coats at the ready, we set off for school expecting to get soaked.  However, the rain didn’t appear, just tons of mud along the footpath.
2012-12-19 photo 7 smaller

Approaching school, three lorries coming through in quick succession created a snarl-up along Broad Lane.

They squeezed through the gap left by parked cars, then encountered oncoming traffic that didn’t seem to realise that there’s nowhere for them to go, that they’re part of the log jam.

2012-12-19 photo 9 smallerI’m just glad we were past the lorries before they could get moving, as they mounted the kerb in quick succession, nearly brushing the hedges to get past stationary cars.

Take a look at this video, you’ll see what I mean:

In the news
The situation we face on a daily basis is getting more media attention.  BBC Radio Stoke interviewed me this morning about the chaos.  It’s a shame the reporter couldn’t join us during our walk, it would have been fantastic to have their account of the situation.  At least I could show them photos of this morning, describe what the road is like and walk with them past the bottlenecks.  Other radio stations are interested in what we’re doing too…

New – Pothole Cam
Since Monday, a pothole is growing opposite the Old School House.  It’s getting bigger every day, now throwing debris up onto the footpath.  I’ve reported it to Cheshire East, using their online reporting system, so it should be repaired before too long…

18 Dec 2012

18 Dec 2012

19 Dec 2012

19 Dec 2012


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 6
No. of cars parking illegally:0

Collision alert

2012-12-18 photo 2 smallerThere was a light fog for our walk to school today, but not enough to reduce visibility so much that you couldn’t see for several hundred yards.

Drivers seem less willing to pause and let others come by these past few days.  More likely to barge on through than hang back, more likely to “save a few seconds” than wait a couple of minutes.   How often do they save those seconds instead of getting themselves and others stuck for upwards of 5 minutes?

2012-12-18 photo 9 smallerBuilding in slow motion, we could see the problem growing until the road was blocked.  It seemed to be precipitated by the usual gap outside school becoming filled with traffic trying to travel into Nantwich.

In just two minutes, it had built to a stage where those in the middle had absolutely nowhere to go.  Cars and vans mounted the path, right by children walking to the school.  It’s not like the path is very wide at that point either, so there’s nowhere to escape.  By this time, the road outside school had cleared, a silence filled the air.


In amongst the jam, I’m told there was a “collision” between a pedestrian and a vehicle inching forward in the queue.  Fortunately, there was no harm done, physically at least.  The pedestrian was rather shaken up, I haven’t heard about the driver.  And this isn’t the first “incident” along Broad Lane since September.

2012-12-18 photo 11 smaller

Careless parking?
This afternoon, arriving at school about 4.30 to pick up my daughter, there was a car parked on the zig-zags outside the school.  Visibility was already poor thanks to the dark and fog…

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 8
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 6
No. of cars parking illegally:1

Mexican Stand-off

Thank goodness the weekend’s rain has stopped.  We didn’t much relish a walk to school in pouring rain, dodging the puddles and water thrown up by passing cars.  The path south of Mill Lane has turned into a long muddy puddle, so much for newly polished school shoes! The edge of the path has merged into the road, so it feels like we’re walking along the road, cars passing very close by.

2012-12-17 photo 5 smaller

There was a distinct lack of lorries this morning, an emerging trend that is all for the good at this time of day.  However, the volume of traffic was still too much for our small country road to bear.  I did wonder if we were in for a Mexican stand-off, as the two lines of traffic came to a halt for a few minutes.

Still, there’s only another three days of school before Christmas.  Three days full of carol services and concerts…

What’s happening about housing plans in Stapeley?
Perhaps you signed a petition over the past few months, against unsustainable development.  Over 1500 put their names to the petition, which was handed to our local MP, Edward Timpson MP, last week.  He has been given a clear mandate to stand up for our views in this matter.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 8
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 8
No. of cars parking illegally:0

After dark

On my way to collect my daughter from after-school club yesterday evening, by Mill Lane it became clear that there was something on at the school.  There were cars parked along the off-side of the road most of the way, and probably a similar queue north of the school.

The traffic jam was apparent from some distance, the road lit up like a Christmas tree by the vehicle brake lights and head lights.  Getting nearer to the school, the cause of the jam became apparent.  As is often the case, there were two lines of traffic trying to get past each other, alongside a row of parked cars.

The situation was made so much worse by the lack of passing places.  I became closely acquainted with the hedge as two cars drove past on the pavement, despite my light coloured clothes and bright torch.  Glad there were no children on the path.

Can you spot the car in this video, hiding in the driveway on the right to get out of the mayhem?


2012-12-13 pm photo 1 smallerTravel was made nearly impossible by cars parked directly outside school on the yellow lines. I know that these lines are only in operation between 8am and 5pm, so it’s not illegal to park there at this time of day.

However, it doesn’t take a genius to spot that, if you park there when a whole load more cars will be arriving for an event, it will be doubly hard for traffic to flow.  And, parking there makes trying to cross the road, in the dark, significantly more difficult that it was during daylight hours – when it’s already bad enough.  The lines are there because of safety concerns, not because yellow stripes look good against the grey road surface. I had expected last Friday’s thoughtless parking, and the resulting 10 police penalty notices, would help focus attention on considerate parking.

Come on guys, have a thought for other people, surely their safety is more important to you than saving yourself a few yards walk?

Today’s Tonight’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 9
Stupid/careless parking: 10
Manners: 7
No. of cars parking illegally:0

A good place to stop?

Another crisp, frosty morning for our walk to school.  I much prefer this to wet, cold weather, feels like Christmas already.  And the sky was clear, allowing for a lovely sunrise today.

2012-12-13 photo 1 smallerParents and children going to school ran the gauntlet of crossing the busy road twice, as usual.  Thankfully there were no lorries or buses again today, so life was easier than normal for motorists.  There were even plenty of gaps in the parked cars, to act as passing places. This allowed cars to travel along the narrow corridor at a higher speed than usual.

Yet, in amongst this busy scene, one car driver decided to take advantage of the lovely big open space right outside school to stop and drop their child off.  Not to worry that they stopped opposite a car waiting for oncoming traffic to pass.  Not to worry that they prevented a number of parents and children from crossing the road safely.

2012-12-13 photo 2 smaller

Much more important to save themselves a few minutes, whilst inconveniencing others. That’s all good.

It’s not over yet
Much has been made of the Cheshire East Draft Development Strategy, covered in the Chronicle a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe you breathed a sigh of relief as Nantwich South wasn’t mentioned as a development option for the next few years?  You might be interested to discover that Nantwich South (all 1,000+ homes, covering 43ha) is still very much on the cards as an “alternative strategic site”.  The site is buried within this 300+ page strategy, on p207 (appendix E).  There are no show stoppers included in the listed constraints for this development, it’s just not described as a “preferred” site.

This is the important bit; Nantwich South hasn’t gone away.  Indeed, the current planning applications pre-date the Draft Development Strategy, so it’s reasonable to think that a decision would consider only the policies and plans in place at the time of application.

Today’s scores out of 10:
Traffic volume: 8
Stupid/careless parking: 0
Manners: 8
No. of cars parking illegally:1

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