The death of a woman in her 80s has sparked renewed calls for safety measures at a pedestrian crossing they say was a “disaster waiting to happen”.  

The woman, named Betty, died after being hit by a van when crossing Hempstead Road between Courtlands Drive and Stanbury Avenue on Friday, May 20. 

Neighbours say they had previously asked Hertfordshire County Council to install traffic lights or signs at the crossing, as well as asking for trees and bushes at the roadside to be cut back.


Ken Phillips, who lives in Stanbury Avenue, said: “I have lived here for 47 years, and we always told our boys to avoid that crossing. It has always been a disaster waiting to happen.

Watford Observer:

“The pedestrian crossing is so overgrown that it impossible to see the approach of traffic from the right.

“Neither are there 'pedestrian crossing' warning signs for poor, unsuspecting motorists approaching the dangerous blind crossing."

Mr Philips says he and others had petitioned the county council for improvements, but action was deemed unjustified at the time following inspection.

He added: “There is so much traffic in Watford, especially now with Harry Potter. The council has never properly investigated or consulted with the people in our area.

Watford Observer:

“They did spend money on improving the shopping area at the top of Courtlands Drive because of the Harry Potter visitor traffic and buses, an image project, but never found the money for any safety measures at such a dangerous junction.”

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesperson said: “We were saddened to hear of this tragic incident in Hempstead Road, and our thoughts are with the family affected. Road safety is of paramount importance to Hertfordshire County Council.

"We will be working closely with the police in an attempt to understand how this incident happened and whether any further road safety measures are needed.”

Following last week’s crash police appealed for witnesses, with Detective Constable Neil Crosier adding: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the woman who sadly died in this incident.”

Anyone with information can report it via 101 quoting reference ISR 357 of 20 May.