Thursday, September 22, 2005

There is a subway which leads from my Ward under the main Hagley Road out of Birmingham, to Harborne in Birmingham on the other side. Hundreds of schoolchildren have to cross the road at that junction every day to get to the two large secondary schools on the Birmingham side of the road. Do they use the subway? Not if they've got any sense they don't, unless they are looking to score supplies of illegal substances, of course. It's not only children either. The subway isn't safe for anyone, and last year the whole thing was taped up with scene of crime tape whilst police in white overalls scoured the floor for evidence. Despite the fact that the Hagley Road junction hasn't got a pedestrian phase on the traffic lights, hundreds of people daily take a chance on the traffic rather than risk the subway. So... you're the bloody councillor, I hear you say, why don't you do something about it? The answer is, the junction is controlled by Birmingham City Council... not Sandwell. and despite the Council Leader Mike Whitby having his Ward on the other side of the road in Harborne, the City Council won't do anything about it. Before the 2004 Council Elections the City were committed to doing something about filling in the subway, and fitting a pedestrian phase to the lights. In come Whitby, Hemming and co. and the plans are put on indefinite hold. One of these days I am convinced we will get headlines like this about the subway, and you just listen to the whimpering coming from Councillor Mike Whitby when it does! And when Charles Kennedy tells the Lib Dem Conference, "I want a society that tackles crime – but really does tackle the causes of crime. I want a Britain where older people again feel safe to answer their doors. Where parents can let their children walk to school – or play in the park – without the incessant worry. Where our streets and town centres are free from fear at night." the people of my Ward scuttling across a six lane highway will know it is simply empty rhetoric.