The Park Ward Labour Team and I were recently called out to an incident: a light blue car had crashed into a resident’s garden wall, scattering bricks, and leaving debris strewn all over the pavement, writes cllr Shaz Nawaz, leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council.
Apparently, it was due to a “boy racer” losing control of his vehicle.
My colleague, Councillor Ferris, had to tweet the council in order to get them to clear up the mess.
This incident is one among many in our city; in my first column, I highlighted how a white Astra car, which had also been involved in an accident, was left in the middle of Bourges Boulevard for over a week.
It’s rare that a week goes by and we don’t read in this newspaper about some traffic incident which has damaged property, people or even cost lives. Like many cities in our country, Peterborough has reached breaking point with its traffic problems.
Yet, given cuts to public transport, people are more reliant on the car to get around our city than ever.
Something has to give: the Park Ward team already works with local residents on Speedwatch initiatives. If you’d like to set-up Speedwatch in your area then please do get in touch.
Additionally, the council should help local residents set up co-operative transport services to reduce reliance on the automobile. Furthermore, we need to look at speed limits and how they are enforced, punished and rewarded.
A number of cities have adopted the motto, “Twenty’s Plenty”. This speed restriction exists in parts of Peterborough: the village of Thorney has a 20mph zone outside the Duke of Bedford school.
The village of Glinton has this speed restriction on its High Street. Surely, what is good for the maintenance of the peace in our rural areas is just as beneficial for more built up neighbourhoods. We also need stronger enforcement: the “boy racers” who crash into garden walls are an extreme example. The perpetrator will no doubt be caught and face punishment. However, incidents which are “close shaves” are even more prevalent. We need to work with law enforcement in order to disabuse people from reckless driving. We should also work with insurance companies; Aviva, for example, encourages people to install an app on their phones to monitor their driving. Those who are careful are rewarded with lower premiums; given that Peterborough is home to one of the leading insurance comparison websites in the United Kingdom, surely there is scope for a partnership to create a scheme to reward good drivers with financial rewards. All of the proposals I have mentioned could be done with minimal cost: signs can be altered easily to reflect updated speed limits. Closer co-operation with law enforcement should be done as a matter of course. No doubt insurance companies would gladly assist in a scheme that would give them better data about those they cover. We merely need the imagination, the will and an unwillingness to accept the status quo.