Letter: Keep verges green

Councillor Capstick’s choice in backing a petition to concrete over grass verges in the Ede Avenue area (Gazette, Calls to Scrap Parking Plans, 8th June) shows that when it comes to cars, the Progressives share an ideology with the main parties (including Labour) that says motorists come before pedestrians.  Some opposition.

South Tyneside has already lost enough verges to car parking, often paid for through Community Area Forum environmental ‘improvement’ funding.  Green verges make a positive contribution to the character of streets, and gives them a visually distinctive personality.  ‘Hard’ verges turn a street into a bland characterless car park, and may have a negative effect on property value.

It’s astounding that a councillor would fail to challenge the ridiculous claim that “grass verges are a bigger death trap to children” than parking spaces.  Hard verges mean drivers pulling onto pavements, which presents a risk to children, the disabled and those with visual or hearing impairment.  It also increases the available road space, which in turn encourages faster customary road speeds.  Research shows that more complex street environments tend to be associated with slower driving speeds, so green verges can play a part in road accident prevention.

Considering that traffic is the biggest single cause of accidental death for 12-16 year olds, concreting verges could prove tragic.

Blaming the road layout for damaged cars whilst ignoring poor driving looks like selective myopia.  Councillors should concentrate on enhancing road safety before worrying about protecting cars from scratches.

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