Monday, 21 July 2008

Protests grow

My blog piece last week about cars illegally entering the Skinnergate pedestrian area during the day has produced a considerable amount of support from other nearby retailers. Both the Northern Echo and the D&S Times (as their page 1 lead story) reported on the matter last week. Since then a number of traders in Skinnergate have been to see me to ask whether anything can be done to block the entry point until such time as the Council get the rising bollard fixed.

With the nice weather this week, one of the cafes in Skinnergate has put tables and chairs out in front of their premises, which is great. But then cars, taxis and vans are charging down the street, whizzing past the tables by a matter of inches. With the schoolkids on holiday, it's only a matter of time until someone gets seriously hurt. Another of the cafes (Three Squares) would like to put tables and chairs outside, but can't do so with all the traffic on the road.

Apparently cars are even coming into Skinnergate from the south as well: so we have cars travelling illegally in both directions! It's fun when they meet!

Yet no temporary barrier has been erected. Why not just use a crush barrier? Surely a couple of wardens could put it in place in the morning and remove it at 5pm.

I went out for just ten minutes this afternoon, on my way to the bank. Above are just a few of the photos I took (I took 12 in all - more than one a minute) - though given the amount of abuse I received, I doubt whether I'll do that again. The police don't seem interested and the Council are just waiting for the bollard to be fixed. At the rate I saw cars on the road today there must have been hundreds of cars along there in the course of the day.


miketually said...

What about a rota of people to stand for 15 minutes each and note down the reg numbers of cars illegally entering Skinnergate. Each person could then take thri numbers to the police station to make an official complaint?

At least then there's a record and the police have recieved official complaints so they surely have to do something.

I'm sure I can round up a couple of volunteers, and I'd happily do a stint or two myself.

Mike Barker said...

I discovered today what I probably already knew: take a decent, otherwise law-abiding citizen, stick him behind the wheel of a car and ask him (or her)not to break traffic laws and you get a stream of abuse and threats which they wouldn't dream of producing in any other situation.
Anyway, I'm off now to see Leonardo Di Caprio's environmental documentary, "The Eleventh Hour", at the Arts Centre. When I get back I'll email some officers and David Lyonette and ask for some action on Skinnergate.
Maybe sending car numbers to the police might work: we've done it on behalf of put-upon residents of North Road ward before.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes...

Correct me if I am wrong, but Skinnergate was the first street in Darlington to be pedestrianised and was the model for the Pedestrian Heart. That means no cars, vans and other motorised vehicles, except diabled scooters are allowed during certain parts of the day.

Motorists are committing an offence in driving in the street when they are not permitted to do so. I find it incredible, but am not surprised, that they are flouting the law and getting away with it.

The police and/or the Council have a duty to act. The law is being broken. In the event of an accident involving a car, heaven forbid, the Council will be liable for not ensuring the safety of the public. Keep badgering them Mike.

cllr. mark burton said...

100% behind you here Mike, surly something temporary can be put in place. My daughter often walks down this road with her school friends. Drivers should know better - signs are in place... so there's no excuse. If the police know this barrier is broken and that drivers are breaking the law, then examples should be made. Their priorities are set, but hey, it's safety first... always!