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FAMILIES CAUGHT IN RAT-RUNTRAP; mersey roads on danger list.

Byline: MIKE HORNBY

TWO Merseyside roads were today named among Britain's worst rat-runs.

Kirkstone Road South and neighbouring Harris Drive in Bootle are named in a north west table of shame produced by green groups Transport 2000 andSustrans.

Last night, residents demanded action from the council to stem the tide of cars passing along both roads, which act as a short cut between Hawthorne Road and Dunnings Bridge Road.

Julie Samson, co-ordinator of Transport 2000's Street For People initiative, said: ``This shows that residents in many places are desperate for help to solve rat-running.

``Rat-running is dangerous and totally disrespectful to the people who live in the area. Residential roads are intended for local journeys only and were not designed for hundreds of cars an hour.

``They should be places where neighbours can meet and children can play after school,not race tracks for people in a hurry.''

Transport 2000 and Sustrans launched a competition to find Britain's worst rat runs and Kirkstone Road South and Harris Drive were chosen because of the impact on children.

Ms Samson added: ``The estate's roads are used as rat-runs when the nearby motor way becomes congested.

``Because the volume of traffic is not particularly dense,it can reach a high speed,posing a danger to children making their way to and from school.''

Cathy and John Biggar have lived in nearby Thackaray Gardens for three years and say the problem has got worse.

Cathy, 32, said: ``I can't let my children play in the front garden because it is too dangerous. There have been four accidents around here in two years, everyone is concerned that their child will be next.''

John,41,an electrician,added: ``On average the cars along Harris Drive are reaching speeds of up to 60mph.

``They cut along to avoid the traffic lights at Hawthorne Road and Church Road. But when the motor ways get busy, so does Dunnings Bridge Road and even more cars take short cuts along here.

``We have been promised traffic calming,but it just hasn't happened.''

Captain's Green Community Association has long been campaigning about the traffic problems.

Spokesman Paul Cook said: ``We hope our committee will have the opportunity to work with the local authority to put forward solutions which will benefit the whole community.''

Councillor Billy Burk, cabinet member for technical services at Sefton Council, said: ``If there is a problem we will look at what measures can be taken to make the area safer for everyone who lives there.''

The ``winner'' of the national title was Wykeham Street in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

CAPTION(S):

MAD DASH: John and Cathy Biggar say they cannot let their children out to play because of speeding vehicles taking short cuts between Hawthorne Road and Dunnings Bridge Road in Bootle
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2003
Words:464
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