Last year I attended a meeting of Barnet Councils Cabinet where Mr Novak, who lives in Uphill Road, presented a paper detailing why road humps should be put back into his road. His report had the support of all but three of the residents. He detailed how hundreds of schoolchildren us his road to walk to Mill Hill County High. He detailed how 50% of cars break the speed limit according to the councils own stats (bearing in mind that at some periods of the day there is congestion). He detailed how residents had suffered accidents due to speeding motorists using the road as a ratrun from Marsh Lane to Lawrence Street. He detailed how motorists hurtled down the road to avoid Apex Corner as a cut through to Mill Hill Circus. In short he made his case.
Barnet Councils then road supremo, Andrew Harper (now deputy Leader) dismissed the report. The views of local residents didn't matter. The safety of schoolchildren didn't matter. Why, you may ask?
The answer which Mr Harper gave, in no uncertain terms was this "Barnet Council is a motorist friendly Council so we don't want traffic calming measures, the car comes first". Mr Harper pointed out that the average speed in Uphill Road was just under the speed limit, therefore there wasn't a problem (ignoring the fact that this meant 50% of cars were breaking the speed limit). Mr Harper said that road humps damage cars and slow down emergency services. This is paramount. The emergency services must be able to get from A to B as quickly as possible (no doubt to attend accidents caused by speeding motorists).
As I drove around the London Borough of Barnet this weekend, I pondered Andrew Harpers comments. Due to Barnet being unable to access £27.4 of reserves in Iceland, having reportedly lost £12 Million completely and having lost milions in interest, there is a cash crisis. As a result Pothles are not being fixed. These have sprung up all over the Borough. On many busy roads such as Pursely road, used by the 221 bus, these are huge. Car suspensions are being destroyed by these menacing obstacles. Wheras you see road humps and there are signs to alert you, potholes are a hidden menace. I saw an ambulance on Pursley Road nearly crash on Saturday, avoiding a particularly nasty hole.
The thing about potholes is that they grow every day they aren't fixed. As they grow, the whole fabric of the road disintegrates. A small hole can be fixed relatively cheaply and easily, as they grow, the whole road cracks up. When it comes down to it, this is one of the first and most noticeable signs of Barnets Icelandic financial woes. A decent administration would have set up a "Potholes task force" after the bad weather and would have fixed them up as soon as they appeared. In the long run this is far cheaper than resurfacing the whole road. Next time Harper and his colleagues tell you they are motorist friendly, consider the damage being done to cars everywhere by Barnets pot holes.
As to the cost. If you damage your car on a pothole, it is the responsibility of the Council. I'd suggest you write to Andrew Harper and ask him for the cash.
Traffic calming measures come in many forms. For Barnets Tories, their favourate is the Pot hole.