Drivers are turning side streets into dangerous rat runs after their shortest route out of South Tyneside was blocked as part of a new £7.5m road scheme, it is claimed
Residents say traffic is rising on narrow 20mph Stirling Avenue, Elgin Street and Moffat Avenue, on the Scotch Estate, South Shields after drivers were banned from joining the Edinburgh Road/A194 Newcastle Road junction.
The final 20m section of Edinburgh Road has been turned into a bus-only lane – with CCTV and £60 fines in operation to keep drivers in check.
Today, they were joined by Bede ward independent councillor Lee Hughes in condemning the change.
Coun Hughes, who represents the Putting People First party, urged South Tyneside Council to return Edinburgh Road to all-vehicle use.
He said: “These side streets have been turned into rat runs by the change to this small section of road.
“The overall road scheme needed to be done, but the exit off Edinburgh Road should never have been made into bus only.
“I’ve spoken to residents and many are unhappy. Some are saying the changes have added an extra eight minutes on to their journey to work.
“You can have around 30 kids playing out on these streets, and there are also playing fields nearby – it’s now much more dangerous.
Scotch Estate resident Terry Burns, 52, a council worker, also hit out, saying: “There is already more traffic using these streets. I fear the situation is ripe for someone to be hurt.
The new layout means the only way out of the estate is via two other points - both on to the John Reid Road.
The nearest is about 100m from Edinburgh Road, where Stirling Avenue and Elgin Street meet.
The second is around a quarter of a mile distant, at the traffic-light controlled Perth Avenue.
The year-long improvement scheme, designed to end congestion and hold ups on the A194 at Lindisfarne Roundabout, was completed almost two weeks ago.
Bede ward Labour councillor Kay Cunningham admitted some residents had raised concerns about the possible traffic impact on surrounding streets during the scheme’s consultation process.
But she defended the change, adding: “Where Edinburgh Road and the A194 meet was an accident blackspot, with two serious recent accidents at that point. It was a safety hazard.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “As with any new scheme, traffic takes time to adjust and we will continue to monitor traffic flows in the area.”