Who would have thought that some road furniture in Watford would cause such stir online? The now-infamous Woodmere Avenue width restriction has received news coverage across the globe, inspired countless memes and even been discussed in UK parliament.
The local council was already well aware of the crashy problems caused by the road feature before it went viral, and solutions are currently being worked on. Nothing will happen just yet, though, so the carnage is set to continue.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 3 Counties, councillor Phil Bibby confirmed discussions with Watford MP Dean Russell were underway regarding the use of cameras in place of a physical restriction. The only problem is, there’s a legal snafu - part of the Traffic Management Act of 2004 prohibits local authorities not in London from issuing penalty charge notices to vehicles ignoring road signs.
So, if cameras are to go in, there’ll need to be a change to the law. Hertfordshire County Council could merely widen or rip out the restriction, but then locals will have to put up with heavy goods vehicles using this relatively minor road to get onto the nearby A41.
The restriction wasn’t always so narrow. Originally it was 2.3 metres wide (7’ 6”) before being reduced to two metres (7’) following complaints from residents about bigger vehicles attempting to get through, Councillor Bibby said. It’s been there since 1980, with the unforgiving bollards added about 10 years ago.
Long-suffering Tim and Tracy Vigor, who live in an adjacent property, have recorded a huge number of incidents at the restriction using a doorbell camera. They say there’s at least one collision a day, causing near-constant chaos on the road. One badly damaged VW Golf is said to have been sat further up the road for weeks.
The Vigors, other locals and Neil Greig of road safety charity IAM RoadSmart believe the frequency of accidents can be attributed to the slight curve and drop kerb just before the restriction. They say this causes drivers to drift over onto the edge of the curve, putting them on a collision course with the first left bollard. It’s worth pointing out that the restriction on the opposite side of the road, which is just as narrow, doesn’t seem to be causing issues.
Sources: BBC Radio 3 Counties via Watford Observer