Davyhulme Road East, a collision waiting to happen

Davyhulme Road East is your typical suburban through road. For most of its length, it had two lanes, but widens to five lanes at the A56 / Chester Road end. Most of the road is residential, with a shopping parade at one end and two primary schools Victoria Park Junior School and St Ann’s R.C. Primary School.

The road acts as a key route from Urmston, Trafford Park and Intu Trafford Centre to central Manchester and carries quite a lot of traffic at peak times. The traffic can be quite fast at times, with many vehicles travelling above the 30 mph limit. There’s a vehicle activated speed sign on the eastbound side, indicating that speeding isn’t just a recent issue.

Trafford Council have plans to improve the A56 / Chester Road junction. This is welcome as currently, it is quite an unpleasant and unsafe junction for pedestrians. There’s no dedicated pedestrian phase, so you’re forced to dodge speeding traffic, with just a very small traffic island in the middle. With kids, it’s really awful.

a56-davyhulme-road-east
Early draft proposals for A56 / Davyhulme Road East junction

Unfortunately, it’s not just the crossing that’s the problem. In the mornings, there’s often queues of traffic down Davyhulme Road East, heading for central Manchester. On particularly congested days, this can stretch past the Moss Road junction.

While the queue is for the two left turning lanes, drivers heading for the right turn often get impatient and cut the queue by driving up the opposite side of the road. This means you get many speeding vehicles driving head-on against the traffic.

In itself, this constitutes a danger. Add in the presence of two primary schools, then it becomes a collision waiting to happen. The school crossing patrol is quite far down the road, near St Ann’s R.C. Primary School entrance and is only there at limited times. This means you get many people crossing outside the entrance to Victoria Park Junior School, just where vehicles are skipping the queued traffic.

The following video was recorded on what was actually a quiet weekday morning, the traffic can get much worse than this. Even on a relatively quiet morning though, the number of vehicles jumping the queue is significant. As you can see, a number of times it happens while there’s oncoming traffic.

I’ve contacted Greater Manchester Police, who seem pretty disinterested in the issue. Saying it doesn’t constitute dangerous driving.

On this point, I think rule 127 of the Highway Code is pretty clear:

A broken white line. This marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means that there is a hazard ahead. Do not cross it unless you can see the road is clear and wish to overtake or turn off.

I really wish we could get the police to take an interest in this, even if it’s just sending a traffic PCSO out to see for themselves.

I also hope Trafford Council will consider this issue while implementing the improvements at the A56 / Davyhulme Road East junction. One of our local councillors, Mike Cordingley is also concerned about this, and has asked for the video to be reviewed.

I’d like to see an additional crossing added near Victoria Park Junior School. This would enable people to cross safely, while providing a deterrent to overtaking the standing queues.

This isn’t just about the potential for a collision with a child. This kind of behaviour helps to discourage people from walking and cycling to and from school. Something that we desperately need more of.

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