Mr Lenthall on the importance of grass verges in Stevenage
“He wanted some kind of, you might call it safety margin for the mother with the small child, because the housing area’s the domain of the mother and the small child.”
All, all of us coming to work as engineers to the New Town of Stevenage were coming from Old Town authorities, and we’d all suffered from the nightmare problems of trying to deal with services in the middle of traffic flows, and it was just a common sense approach to put them in the grass verges. But I think I ought to say something about the grass verges on the highway system, because those grass verges didn’t happen by chance. They weren’t put there to accommodate the services. They were put there to provide the townspeople in the housing areas with safety. The grass verges predominate on the secondary road system, you might call the through routes inside the housing areas, the bus routes inside the housing areas, and this was a particular feature which was felt essential by Eric Claxton, the second Chief Engineer. He wanted some kind of, you might call it safety margin for the mother with the small child, because the housing area’s the domain of the mother and the small child. The small child that escapes the mother’s grasp and heads for the highway he wanted a safety strip which would at least enable the motorist to see the child was going to become a danger. So he created these grass verges at the side of the carriageway, and put the footpaths on the other side of the grass verges. And having got those there, it was an easy matter then to put your services in those grass verges, and easier to get to them.