Readers' letters - December 19

Rise in accidents due to '˜smart' roads

Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 3:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 4:40 pm
Do we need hard shoulders on motorways?

A motorway accident last month was a prime example of why having no hard shoulder is extremely dangerous.

A broken down car was hit very hard from the rear by another bigger car, closing two lanes.

Had the hard shoulder been there, this would have been avoidable.

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How can the so-called experts say that, if someone breaks down, they should get to one of the refuge areas?

If you break down, you break down, there is no “I think I’ll break down next to the refuge”.

The occupants of that particular car were very lucky this time.

Next time it could be a young family with a mum trying to get children out of the broken down car to safety.

Every day there are accidents on the so-called smart motorways (M1/


The number of collisions has increased significantly since so-called smart technology was


It’s about time Highways saw sense and maintained a hard shoulder, whenever possible, throughout the

day and night.

Graham Donaldson

via email


It’s now time to admit defeat

The debacle regarding the Shared Space Concept along Fishergate has now got to farcical proportions and is an embarrassment to us all.

Let me start with the infamous bollards and ask that those in authority come to their senses.

Just how many times are the public going to put up with the stupidity of replacing a bollard innumerable times before the message sinks in that this is inappropriate and it’s important to look into why this keeps happening.

Now I just wonder if Simon Rigby will allow those that make these decisions into Level in the Guild Hall. There they will see a bowling alley with pins all in white against a black background at the end of each alley. And why are they white? In order that they can be seen against that black background.

Yet what ‘pins’ do we see on Fishergate/Corporation Street? Camouflaged ones against the road..

I’ve never heard of such a silly concept as this, and it’s supposed to be for safety reasons. It is obvious to anyone with just one brain cell that such a safety feature should also be obvious to road users.

But is it?

Of course not, so why persist with something that is clearly not fit for purpose? Using some airy excuse that it blends (really?) in with the overall concept defies belief and reason. Ditch it in favour of something more obvious.

Then we have the new headache of protecting the public against mobile terror attacks. Hmm, I bet that never entered the designers’ heads when this shared space concept was drawn up, despite previous such attacks around this country and the world.

Then we have their less than brilliant idea of thwarting the attackers by putting up planters. Who, er, planted that idea into their heads?

It does not take a genius to work out a possible scenario from past experiences as to what might happen. A 44- tonne juggernaut makes its way undetected. And what do we have to put in the way of this fearsome beast? A bunch of small wooden planters to halt its path.

Come to Walmer Bridge and see some real planters that would stop such a vehicle dead in its tracks.

The original idea was for some, like those being suggested for Fishergate, which could hold mulberry BUSHES. For whatever reason, we ended up with some designed to take mulberry TREES. The planters are monsters, about 2m in diameter and chest high.

Finally we have the ‘dreaded’ enforcement cameras which people are ignoring.

The powers-that-be seem to think that fines will alter drivers’ behaviour, yet the figures prove this to be a mis-guided idea.

What it does prove is that some drivers will not be pushed around into taking ridiculously long routes to get to where they want to go, so take the shortest option, even if that means a fine.

Oh and me? Yes, I’ve gone down the ‘forbidden road’ a number of times ... by bus!

Aren’t I the smug one?

Er, no, because then I have to squeeze myself past all those darn massive planters.

Yet another planning, or more like execution, disaster.

Neil Swindlehurst

Walmer Bridge


Give cash to NHS, not banks

Philip Hammond is giving the NHS £2.8bn over the next two years but is cutting bank taxes by £4.4bn. The health service needs £8bn yet preference has gone to the tax on bank debt. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it’s shameful we get large handouts for banks when care services cry out for more to cope.

A Hague via email