-----Original Message-----
From: Pete & Tina Davis
Sent: 28 November 2007 14:11
To: councillor.j.hannides@southampton.gov.uk
Cc: councillor.a.samuels@southampton.gov.uk; councillor.p.williams@southampton.gov.uk; Pete Brunskill; Dale Bostock; lin.hand@southampton.gov.uk; Jean Wawman
Subject: RE: Fw: Safety on Lovers' Walk:Lights-off Trial

Dear Councillor Hannides,

Thank you for allowing me speak to you about this at the open East Bassett Residents Association meeting at Cantell School last Thursday evening. Please see attached a copy of an email from Pete Brunskill, Sustainable Transport Policy Manager.

Also attached is the brief report issued by Dr Lin Hand as part of her consultations. This was the paper I handed to you for information. You will be interested to hear that when this proposal was put to the meeting it was greeted with derision.

It would have been much more constructive if a properly considered formal consultation exercise had been carried out beforehand. In this instance "pilot" means imposing the scheme on the local community for three months without sufficient notice. The original "very successful pilot" referred to on the west side of the common was in fact the footpath from Bassett Avenue, behind the houses along Burgess Rd. This had less use than Lover's Lane but the switch-off probably resulted in vulnerable road users being put at more risk from the traffic in Burgess Road. Lover's Lane is a very heavily used tarmac shared-use footpath and cycleway which is a Council designated cycle 'commuter' route .
 
I have talked to Dr Hand and the purpose is to discourage use at night. This seems not have been thought through properly especially with regard to its effects on cyclists with whom they failed to consult.

Cyclists will be forced off this otherwise very popular direct and safe off-road route onto dangerous roads such as Burgess Road, the Avenue or Hill Lane. I would suggest that as a result, the potential for increased road casualties for cyclists would be far greater than the rare occurrence of attacks here. There have been attacks in the more southerly unlit section of Lover's Lane and the only report I found of an attack in this lit section stated that the attack was curtailed by a passer-by proving the usefulness of keeping the path well used. If this trial is held to 'work' are lights to be switched off elsewhere when the problem has been displaced to other paths?
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We would be very grateful for your being able to assist in having this reconsidered so that all lights on along this path are kept on in hours of darkness. Some of the reasons for this are outlined as follows:

 A well used path is a safer path. Use must be bolstered not discouraged. Seeing other users within sight or earshot gives greater security.

 A well lit path means cyclists can easily see and avoid pedestrians and other  cyclists alike.

Cyclists provide a fast moving "patrol" effect moving swiftly along past slower pedestrians and provide a deterrent to any assailants lying in wait for pedestrians.

Lights are essential to see the edge of the path clearly. This is very important as long stretches of Lovers Lane have deep edges to the tarmac over which it is all too easy to twist an ankle or spill a cyclist off, as I know from bitter experience - and have seen happen to others. This is exacerbated by the tarmac path being of inadequate width.

Being able to see clearly as far ahead as possible gives greater security. Clearing encroaching vegetation well back to increase open areas to the sides of the path is a good idea. Historically, Lovers Lane, was according to SCAPPS's records, a  much wider open perambulation. Restoring this openness is to be welcomed.

Relying on remotely sited University CCTV cameras by clearing even more undergrowth to allow better surveillance will not work due to the fact that there are far too many obstacles. In addition, I believe that legally a site's cameras must not be allowed to view or record outside the boundaries of the site concerned.

The excuse of not being able to keep up with inspections and maintenance properly is a very poor reason for switching off the lights. The black painted numbers on dark green posts are impossible to read in darkness and make it very difficult for the public to identify them when reporting faults. There should be far less delay between reports and fixing broken lights.

Entering a dark path off a well lit street immediately puts the genuine user at a disadvantage due to the significant time it takes for eyes to become adjusted. This is contrary to the claims that "visual range" of potential attacker and victim are "equal" in the dark. It is wrong to suggest there is any real equality in this relationship!

Making things easier for walking and cycling is one of the basic elements of Sustainable Transport and Healthy Living policy which this scheme negates especially if those put off using this path resort to using their cars.

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Residents of Bassett, Highfield, Chilworth, Chandler's Ford etc., many school children, local college and University students use this path. Have they been consulted and warned about this?

The reasons given for this move are ill considered and unjustified. It must be stopped now in the public interest.

I look forward to your response

Thank you
Regards

Peter and Tina Davis






Note: forwarded message attached.


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