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Bradford on Avon traffic problem

Plans to alter Bradford on Avon town centre a solution?

To be brief, Bradford on Avon's problem with traffic is due to the A363 which goes right through the centre of the town. This is because the road has to cross the ancient town bridge. The problem is made worse by the B3109 that also uses the bridge. It would be possible to bypass the town centre by building a new bridge besides the railway bridge to the east but unfortunately, due to lack of consideration for future development, planning decisions that have been made over the years have made such a proposal too destructive as it would mean demolition of houses that have been built..

To further add to Bradford on Avon's traffic problems new housing has been built and is continuing to be being built where there is little prospect of local work. A lot of this housing has taken possible employment land.  One of the reasons for this development is that building in towns and cities has become too expensive. Traffic levels are increasing and will continue to increase whilst house building continues unchecked.

There is little prospect of reducing the damage caused by traffic in Bradford on Avon. People cannot cross the road in safety and even the possible building of a new bridge costing over a million pounds has been proposed. The present plan includes dispensing with the zebra crossing. This would be welcome if it is to be replaced by traffic lights. Any other suggestion is nonsense. 

Time and time again I have witnessed people, pedestrians, who are unable  to cross urban roads (anywhere) because the vehicles will not give way to them. This is not because drivers are unwilling to give way, well actually it is. The thirty miles per hour limit makes it even more dangerous for pedestrians to cross the road , as it gives them even less time and opportunity to cross the road.

1. Pedestrians need a safe way to cross a busy road.
2. they need pavements with a decent kerb to deter traffic from mounting the pavement
3. Pavements are for pedestrians only and the roads are for vehicles.
4. Vehicles must not mount the pavement to do so is to break the law
5. pedestrian must cross roads sensibly otherwise they could be charged with jaywalking - not n the UK yet
6 pavements have kerbs that do separate traffic where they are maintained in Wiltshire they are poor
7.  zebra crossings do provide a measure of protection to pedestrians crossing the road as do central refuges (islands)
4. traffic light controlled crossings provide an even safer way to cross a road

Traffic light controlled crossings can also be part of a scheme to manage traffic where the road is narrow.

Some of the suggestions that have been proposed have no legal backing, whereas the zebra and light controlled crossings do as well as vehicles mounting a pavement. I would hope that the police as well as the Highway authority have been consulted about these plans.

"The HCZ plan is expected to cost Wiltshire Council £2.5m. Its aim is to create equal rights on Bradford’s two main roads, Market Street and Silver Street, for motorists and pedestrians by using different coloured stones to mark out footpaths and the road." Wiltshire Times article

I'd love to be able to draw a cartoon here, but I don't have the skill. If anyone has please send me your artwork for inclusion in this article. 

Let's clarify the legal status of coloured patched of road. There isn't any, is there?

How will blind people cope with these changes? Even sighted people will have problems seeing the proposed changes. Depending on weather conditions surfaces have varying degrees of visibility. Even  jet black surfaces will appear to be white under direct sunlight when the surface is wet.

Do I have to photograph the location? Perhaps I should. Bradford on Avon has the ugliest wall in any town centre, it has a huge expanse of black almost featureless stone covered in soot and grime and is about 30 feet high. The wall has determined the width of the A363 which is a major road into a pinch-point. Although traffic can hardly speed through Masons Lane, at least during the day, The existing zebra crossing does provide a safe means to cross the road and also help traffic enter Market Street from Church Street when someone is using crossing.  Daily Mail

I have made two videos of traffic movements on Bradford on Avon's town bridge. Two minutes by day and two minutes by night  These short videos show just how busy the only road across the river Avon is, and incidentally the only break in the day time traffic occurred when the pedestrian controlled crossing could be heard.

Proposed Historic Core Zone (HCZ) Bradford on Avon

The town's population has decided on whether to reject or accept the proposal. The polulation has rejected the plan. This is a comment made by Mayor John Potter:

“I am disappointed that it was voted no and it would have been a great opportunity for money to be spent on the town."

“It’s been a while since any amount of money like this was spent and sadly that is the way it will stay despite the state of the roads being shocking.”

Ther is little logic in the mayor's statements. Why should the town's roads be neglected and remain unrepaired? The roads have been left in a neglected state deliberately. Neglect of road repairs has been decided because some factions have been in favour of the HCZ plan. why spend money on the roads when the plan (if accepted) will require disruption and alerations to the road's surfaces.

Since the plan has been rejected there is no reason at all for road repairs not to go ahead, unless the money is only available for untried plans based  on faulty Shared Space philosphy. It is notable that some much times and effort has had to be spent including a poll costing nearly seven thousand pounds for a plan that has stirred up resentment from the very start.

Is there a need for additional traffic lights

I am inclined to think that Bradford on Avon would benefit from a new set of traffic lights ;located at the junction of Mason's Lane and Newtown. Controlliing the traffic at this junction would enable pedestrians to cross the roads more easily as there would be time for traffic to empty from the two pinch points. The HCZ plan has been described as pedestrian friendly in the press but the public have disagreed. At the core (pun intended) is the proposal to remove the zebra crossing. Mention has been made earlier on the crossings replacement with traffic lights. I don't think that proposal  would be desirable but traffic lights at the end of  Market Street would force the traffic to stop. The lights could be part-time. Another possibility is to have police officer control at rush hour times.

Posted on 30 Jan 2015 by Geoff Edwards

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