One of the consequences of the City moving into Tier 4 restrictions, as it is expected to do following an announcement tomorrow, may be that progress on some traffic schemes will be delayed.
This could affect The Groves traffic restrictions which were introduced using a temporary (experimental) traffic order last summer. The expectation was that a decision would be made early in 2021 about whether – and with which features – the scheme would be made permanent (or abandoned). However, further restrictions on movement, because of the pandemic, could mean that no stable traffic pattern will be established until well into 2021.
One of the criticisms of the scheme, which was rushed into operation following a meeting last June, was that the area had already become largely devoid of through traffic as a result of changes in the local economy.
Safety concerns remain.
The Council, in response to a Freedom of Information request in October, said, “Stage 1 and Stage 2 Road Safety Audits were not undertaken for this scheme due to its experimental nature. The project team discussed the design with road safety officers to get their input as the scheme was developed.
Once the initial adjustments to the scheme are completed, a Stage 3 Road Safety Audit will be undertaken”.
The adjustments were made some months ago but there is still no sign of the promised safety audit.
As well as obvious concerns, such as unmarked contra flow cycle routes, there are other issues to be addressed.
Not least of these, is access for emergency vehicles. Moveable bollards are promised as an option if the scheme becomes permanent but any decision on that is fading into the distance.
The high level of demand for ambulance services, as the pandemic tightens its grip, means revised arrangements are needed sooner rather than later.
One concerned resident has now written to the Council detailing several safety failings on the existing scheme. Issues highlighted include a requirement for all traffic exiting Penley’s Grove Street to turn left and use the Monk Bridge roundabout to complete a U-turn. An unnecessarily dangerous manoeuvre for cyclists (who may well be tempted to ignore the restriction).
In total, the resident has identified over a dozen locations where the provided signs do not meet current national regulation standards or where ad hoc bits of street furniture represent potential hazards for users.
Hopefully, 2021 will bring a more measured approach to changes to the City’s transport systems.