Residents plead for lower speed limit at accident blackspot

Residents campaigning for a lower speed limit on a busy road could see action by the end of the year.

One man has died and more have been injured n a series of crashes in Wilson Avenue in Brighton – Picture by David Barrett

An “experimental traffic order” is proposed for Wilson Avenue, Brighton, which would last for 18 months, with a public consultation taking place during the first six months.

Wilson Avenue resident Henry Butler urged councillors to reduce the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph, citing a crash last year when a 21-year-old man died. His car had been travelling down the road at 90mph.

Mr Butler told councillors that bus drivers and residents who used the 21A bus route said that vehicles regularly sped past them at up to 100mph in the early hours.

According to Brighton and Hove City Council, there have been 12 serious accidents in Wilson Avenue, with one death and eight serious injuries.

Mr Butler told members of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee that Sussex Police considered 40mph appropriate because Wilson Avenue was “semi-rural”.

But Mr Butler said that residents wanted a lower limit, not least because there was a crossing point by Stanley Deason Leisure Centre which was used by 3,000 people a month.

He said that people also needed to cross to reach East Brighton Park, Sheepcote Valley, Whitehawk FC and other leisure activities on the eastern side of the road.

He told the committee at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Tuesday 21 June): “Access to the 60-acre nature reserve below the Racecourse is currently cut off by a de facto speed barrier. It is difficult and dangerous for people to cross.”

Green councillor Steve Davis, who chaired the meeting, said that, as a driving instructor, he felt that the road was a 30mph one.

He said that the council would place a speed recording device in Wilson Avenue “in the near future” and then approach the police about lowering the limit.

After speaking with council officials and East Brighton ward councillor Nancy Platts, Councillor Davis said that the council would consider an “experimental traffic order” to reduce the speed limit for 18 months.

He said: “To say you’re pushing on an open door with this, with me, is an absolute understatement.

“There is an absolute difference between a street and a road. A road is a divide. Think of Falmer or Ditchling Road that takes a car from one place to another.

A street is a place where people live and work and play. You live in a street. It is not a road.”

Councillor Platts said: “Wilson Avenue might as well be a river, it’s so difficult to get across, and it’s so busy.

“I would be mortified to think of any more accidents on that road – 30mph would be a start – but more action has got to be taken by the police as well to stop the boy racers that come up from Brighton Marina every night, making residents’ lives a misery, too.”

  1. mart Burt Reply

    Okay so can we just take a step back for a moment.
    So however tragic, a young lad died in a crash doing 90 MPH on this road, so how would reducing the speed limit actually prevent further carnage.
    The limit was 40 but he still ignored that and you can bet drivers will continue to float the limit whatever speed is imposed.
    30 would be acceptable with the problems drivers have emerging from side roads but the real issue is with these fools who want to use it for a race track.
    Speed cameras that work in both directions at the same time would be my first option and a 30 limit.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Totally agree – how does Steve Davis decide what the speed limit should be?

      If the road is that dangerous and speeds are that high, why not just put a speed camera set at 40mph?

  2. Enza Casula Reply

    Hi Mart you are right maybe a speed camera might do it. I live in Wilson Avenue and at night the speed that goes past is so noisy when they speed past over 70 miles an hour.

  3. Billy Short Reply

    It’s worth looking at a road map to understand what the underlying problem is here.

    Since the council narrowed Lewes road (the A270) to a single lane and added the bike lane and bus stops in the middle of the road that route is no longer favoured by traffic entering or leaving the city.

    Some of this displaced traffic now uses Falmer road (the B2123) to get access via the A27, and that’s why we have the endless log jam or cars and vans and lorries at the Woodingdean lights. This is now a feeder road to eastern Brighton.

    Wilson road is thus increasingly busy, as is Elm Grove, and adding a new speed limit will not solve that problem.
    The speeding only happens one way (heading downhill) because it’s quite difficult to speed in the opposite direction.
    Changing the official speed limit will make no difference.

    What we actually need is an integrated transport strategy, where someone with intelligence looks at the bigger picture.
    Simply slowing local roads, adding new lower speed limits, and closing or narrowing roads – or indeed adding/duplicating unneeded cycle lanes – is not the real answer.

    The short term answer for Wilson avenue is to install a speed camera for the downhill section. The longer term solution is park and ride schemes and better public transport.

    • Enza Casula Reply

      Very good comments Billy xxx

  4. Billy Short Reply

    PS. Wilson Avenue is not actually an accident blackspot, despite the alarmist picture shown here. (And I should know, because I work at the bottom of this road)
    It is however a bus route road, with additional traffic to the sole city camp site, to East Brighton Park, and for the Stanley Deason centre and Met college premises.
    Some will also go to Wilson avenue for the local refuse tip.
    So it’s not just a traffic feeder road or a residential road.

  5. Chris Reply

    I use this road often, as a resident. Reducing to 30 would help with road noise but nothing else really. Most of the time it is semi-gridlocked top and bottom. People that really want to use it as a racetrack when it is quiet will do so regardless of the limit. The court penalty/sentencing guidelines are the same for doing 90 in a 30 or a 40.
    What is missing is the police making an appearance when the wannabe race drivers are busy.

  6. Keith Reply

    I don’t even like that crossing island with the 1ft high steel kerbs. That will cause damage at the wrong speed.

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