Beware: Police to crack down on Hockey's Lane offenders
POLICE will now be called in to tackle drivers who flout the rules at the notorious Hockey's Lane junction in Fishponds.
It follows a long campaign by residents calling for action against drivers who ignore the no left turn sign.
There have been numerous near-misses with pedestrians who cross the road on the pelican crossing immediately around the corner from the junction and campaigners say it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.
One recent suggestion had been that the council introduce an ‘everybody walk’ stage in the traffic light signal sequence, where all traffic is held on red to allow all the crossings to turn green at the same time.
But the authority says this would just lead to congestion and rat running, creating more pollution and threatening road safety.
Instead the council will work with police in a bid to enforce the sign with a possibility of introducing cameras if this fails to get the message across.
Don Wilson, a member of the Stoke Lane Action Group, contacted the authority about exploring the 'everybody walk' option.
But a response from the council's traffic signals team has made it clear this would not work, and says prevention - and enforcement - is the answer.
The online reply said the traffic signals team used special software to replicate the impact an "everybody walk" stage would have on the junction and surrounding roads.
However, they found the junction would become congested and would no longer be able to handle the amount of traffic that is trying to get through.
"The clear impact of this is increased queue lengths on Fishponds Road between Lodge Causeway and Straits Parade. Congestion such as this will always then have a knock-on effect on the surrounding network, creating problems such as traffic queuing through pedestrian crossings and blocking give-way junctions, delays to public transport, increased ‘rat-running’ and so on. All of which has a detrimental impact on road safety and air quality. As such the ‘everybody walk’ crossing would create numerous issues and it is deemed that the better approach to resolve the issue is through effective prevention and enforcement of the existing arrangement."
The team says that the council is now working with the police to develop a multi-agency approach to tackle the issue. As part of the strategy they will carry out a three-week enforcement operation and, if this fails to work, the council will write to the government requesting powers to use cameras to enforce the no left turn request.
The reply continued: "This approach will reduce the number of turning violations as it will put the emphasis on the offending driver being made aware of the danger they are causing and being held responsible for their actions."
Eastville councillor Mhairi Threlfall has been supporting residents in their quest to make the junction safer. She said: "The Hockey’s Lane issue has been long-standing and is incredibly dangerous for pedestrians who are crossing the road, as although the majority of drivers approach as signposted, a few drivers are still turning illegally left at the junction.
"After reviewing all the options at the junction and increasing the visibility of signs to highlight the banned turn, it’s clear there is a need to ensure that this junction is properly enforced. The council is now working with the police in order to tackle this issue. This of course is the first step, and I would like to see it continued to be actively monitored and the signs effectively changed for drivers but also cyclists to make it even more explicit. It also opens a wider conversation around local powers. I believe local authorities should have the power to enforce on banned left hand turns in the same way as they enforce on bus lanes with cameras, and will continue to press government along with councillors across the country, to get this additional power."
A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: "We have listened to local people who have raised concerns about the crossing and outlined the measures we are going to take. We are working with the police to carry enforcement and hope to finalise the details and roll out soon."