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Aberdeenshire committee consider speed monitor for "accident blackspot" in Blackburn

By Kirsty Brown

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Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee heard of speeding issues on a Blackburn road at their latest meeting.

In a Member Promoted Issue submitted by councillor Glen Reid, the group learned of continued issues and safety concerns on Blackburn's Fintray Road.

Explaining, Mr Reid said: "There is a genuine persistent speeding problem along Fintray Road in Blackburn.

"It is of such a concern that officers recently had to install traffic calming measures a few miles further along the road in Hatton Of Fintray, likewise about half a mile along the road at the school in Blackburn a traffic analysis revealed a severe problem and officers are now installing calming measures there.

"At this location however - the entry/exit point of Blackburn - there is a severe issue and it needs to be tackled.

"I was contacted by constituents about speeding issues near the school and while this work was ongoing, a near miss accident - which could have been fatal - occurred at the other end of the road when a car lost control, left the road and ended up in the back garden of one of my constituents.

"Just minutes earlier their little child had been outside playing in the exact same spot."

He went on to share that he had then learned of three further accidents in the past two years on the same stretch of road, within 200 metres of the school bus stop for Kemnay and Inverurie academies, where he says you will find around 100 young people waiting in a morning as well as being a popular thoroughfare for pupils walking to the primary school.

The problem has gotten so bad that parents have raised money to purchase road safety signs which they put out and collect themselves in a bid to keep their children safe.

The councillor then explained that it's not only parents who have been voicing their concerns, with a local police officer also reaching out to ward councillors about solutions to the continued problems of speeding on the stretch after witnessing vehicles driving at speeds approaching 50MPH (Fintray Road currently operates a 30MPH speed limit).

It was of great concern to the police the number of drivers who had "no intention" of slowing down until they spotted them at the roadside.

After hearing the anecdotes of both residents and the police Mr Reid requested a traffic speed assessment to take place on the road, and described the results as "very interesting".

Councillor Glen Reid.
Councillor Glen Reid.

Sharing the findings with the committee, he said: "The vehicles entering Blackburn from Fintray do so at an 85th percentile of 32 miles per hour - that's two miles per hour over the speed limit.

"Those exiting Blackburn do so at an 85th percentile of 35 miles per hour."

Current policy means that speeds need to be over 35MPH in a 30MPH zone to warrant intervention, however Mr Reid was requesting that the committee consider his motion as the recorded speeds were just one tenth of a mile (per hour) below policy requirements.

He proposed the installation of a Speed Indication Device (SID), such as is currently used at Whiterashes and Kemnay.

He said: "This is a tragedy waiting to happen."

Committee chairman councillor Peter Argyle thanked Mr Reid for raising this issue and supported the motion for a trial SID, before going on to say that he feels this should be the starting point for discussions on how to make an impactful change to an issue which affects every corner of Aberdeenshire.

He said: "Speeding by some motorists is a problem in practically every community - it is absolutely at the top of everybody's agendas in Aberdeenshire.

"I think we need to look at a more holistic way of approaching this issue across Aberdeenshire.

"I am also aware of the selfish, thoughtless, arrogant motorists who unfortunately don't care about the speed limits or the risk they are posing to other people.

"There are some motorists who are beyond the reach of education and the only thing that's going to curtail them is police enforcement, and that is the sad reality."

Councillors were generally agreeable to the proposal and the motion to put a trial SID in place on Blackburn's Fintray Road was passed.

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