Wimbledon Motorists Penalised In Box Junction

Penalty notices for drivers in Merton Park

Drivers using a busy crossroads in Merton Park are now being targeted by council officers enforcing junction box offences.

The junction involved is on the Kingston Road at Dorset Road, close to the Merton Park tram stop (see right).

It is an offence to enter the box junction unless the exit is clear. But cars turning right from Dorset Road regularly go into the box while the traffic lights just ahead have halted the traffic on the busy main road.

Staff from Merton borough council have recently started issuing Penalty Charge Notices for motorists who stop in the box while traffic is stationary as they turn right from Dorset Road.

They issued warning letters to some motorists in April, but are now enforcing the Highway Code at the junction, which has recently been re-surfaced and re-painted.

Local drivers have been alerted to the council's new enforcement policy by the Merton Park Ward Residents' Association.

They say in their latest newsletter: "We have had urgent discussions with council officers. Enforcement after all these years will come as a shock to many people.

"We have asked for a yellow notice to be placed prominently to warn motorists of a new regime, before fines are imposed.

"We also ask that a longer term solution be found. We must avoid tempting otherwise law-abiding motorists into breaking the law by presenting them with an unsatisfactory junction layout".

Councillor Mark Betteridge, Merton Council cabinet member for performance and implementation, said: "The Council is committed to reducing road traffic accidents and reducing congestion, a key concern in our residents' survey. That's why we now enforce certain moving traffic offences, including banned left turns and box junctions. We first sent letters to warn people seen doing this, but as of May 7 all penalty charges are enforceable.

"The Metropolitan Police no longer have the capacity to enforce these types of traffic offences. As a result, power has been delegated to London Boroughs, the majority of which enforce these contraventions. We intend to ensure that our borough is a safe place and that we keep traffic moving in Merton."

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May 14, 2012