PUBLISHED: 11:14 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010
SIR, — I am not in the least surprised that Mr and Mrs Timberlake (Herts Advertiser, May 22) are frustrated by the number of accidents that have occurred in their front garden over the past 15 years. We can double that number when tallying traffic incide
SIR, - I am not in the least surprised that Mr and Mrs Timberlake (Herts Advertiser, May 22) are frustrated by the number of accidents that have occurred in their front garden over the past 15 years. We can double that number when tallying traffic "incidents" that have resulted in cars landing in our hedge/wall/fence over a similar period of time. On one occasion the impact was so severe that our neighbour's car also ended up in our front garden as it ricocheted through our hedge, from the impact of a drunken youth who then proceeded to urinate on what remained of our boundary.
We have tried everything. I have even entertained a representative from Herts County Council "traffic" to tea in my front room where we discussed all the possible strategies to make our section of Beechwood Avenue a safer place. He left me with such high hopes of a resolution but nothing ever came of his empty promises. Time and again, after dozens of phone calls, which result in a series of platitudes invariably citing that "they were awaiting details of the last incident from the police before they could review the layout", or they "have no record of any deaths at the spot", or they "do not have the area listed as a danger area", my hopes have been shattered. I have now given up and resolved to not waste my time ever again. My sanity needs protecting from such frustrations.
Over the past 20 years I have spoken at length to any councillor who knocks on our door seeking support at election time, to our local MP and countless council employees, all to no avail. You'd think it would be child's play to make a known black spot safer but red tape rules, I'm afraid.
Cameras? Are you kidding - they are restricted in number and Beechwood Avenue does not qualify; 30mph signs painted on the tarmac? - these can only be employed at the point where the change in speed restrictions occurs; "sleeping policemen"? - absolutely not on a main road; a roundabout to slow approaching traffic? - most definitely out of the question, think of the expense; and so on and so on.
The list is endless but there's nothing that HCC traffic are prepared to do to create a safe area apart from placing a series of metal posts on the grass verge which do not serve as a speed warning in any way and by the time they have been hit, it's all too late.
However, they do make excellent skittles for target practice, like the one that punctured our neighbours' petrol tank causing thousands of pounds of damage.
Like the Timberlakes, we have concerns for public safety as it's only a matter of time before a pedestrian is seriously injured or killed at our accident site. In 1999 our postbox was demolished.
In 2006 our phone box was knocked down by some drunken youths on a summer's evening. BT, instead of removing the damaged, defunct, phone box, nominated it for a street furniture award. The Herts Advertiser even saw fit to report on the story but since such time we have had seven more accidents covering an area of 80 square metres.
Like the Timberlakes, our property sits in a deceptively dangerous position. Over the years it has been incumbent upon us to summon the emergency services to attend these accidents, the majority of which take place in the early hours of the morning and serve to disturb our sleep and that of all our neighbours.
On one occasion our lamp post was razed to the ground and could so easily have caused a fatal accident. There then followed a three-hour operation by "recovery" to remove the offending post. It was dawn before they had completed the job.
Last week's accident unusually occurred in the middle of the afternoon while we were all out at work, and we would have remained in ignorance had we not found the metal post in our drive.
So there it is Mr & Mrs Timberlake, I'm sorry to say that this situation will never be resolved Certainly don't waste a lot of your precious time or resources on making your garden attractive. It will merely add to your frustrations.
On a positive note, we are never short of conversation at a dinner party, and if there's nothing on telly we can be pretty sure that on a Saturday night, after closing time, we are virtually guaranteed some spectacular event on our pavement to entertainer us!
Beechwood Avenue, St Albans.