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In Full . . .

So, you want to stop traffic . . .

Posted on April 30 2005 at 5:04:31

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Village reader David Barton outlines a radical traffic calming scheme for Alvechurch.

I read with cynical amusement your feature Stop The Traffic – and I refer you to The John Gedge Appraisal of Alvechurch for Bromsgrove District Council, dated 1969, which identified traffic problems 36 years ago and recommended urgent action to prevent the destruction of the village.

The only part of the recommendation implemented has been the bypass, 25 years after it was urgently required!

In the certainty of no positive action being taken in the future, I would present a simple but radical remedy. Close Swan Street/Red Lion Street to through traffic.

Current traffic control measures are largely ineffectual and typically nibbling tentatively at the edges, rather than targeting the root cause. The motor vehicle controls us, not the reverse – the tail wags the dog.

Speed limits are ignored and not enforced. (Weatheroak remains a race track in spite of 30mph imposition and the police will not take action until the annual death toll reaches specific targets).

Speed bumps are now universally recognised as creating more problems than they cure – speed cameras are revenue collectors, not road safety devices.

Vehicles must be ruthlessly controlled. They are nearly always propelled by selfish drivers who attempt to get as close to the counter as possible, choke roads and pavements to the detriment and frustration of human beings while an adequate desert, known as a car park, is provided in an excellent unobtrusive location with pedestrian accesses to the village centre.

I do not pretend that the proposal does not have problems but I contend that it could provide the basis for professional discussion, assuming that politicians, bureaucrats and ‘anoraks’ are excluded from the debate.

In my opinion, the following action should ensue:

1) Commission a traffic survey by qualified traffic strategists which will determine numbers, destinations etc.

2) Close Swan Street/Red Lion Street except for public transport.

3) Vary the width of the existing carriageways reducing the previously widened scar of tarmac, visually bringing the buildings into closer proximity to improve the spatial quality of the street scene.

4) Implement for a trial period and monitor results.

Your telling photograph of a traffic-free village centre could be a reality. History dictates, however, that the cold hand of death by Whitehall and its local authority servants will prohibit action.

The decision will be inevitably not to decide and so The John Gedge Appraisal gathers dust while our village environment continues its inexorable decline.

What do you think of David’s idea? Have you got a better one? Write to the usual address on page 3.

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