“Traffic calming in AG – a history” – by Delia Elliott

This article will be included in the forthcoming edition of the mAGpie, but may be of interest to residents who are considering the proposals for traffic calming measures at the moment;

When I moved to the parish in 1980 Fore Street was notorious for heavy traffic and terrible congestion. The building of the bypass in 1990 seemed like a miracle; Fore Street was closed and we celebrated with a street party. Occasionally buses would meet, that seemed the worst problem.

The community has changed in the last 25 years. I suspect there are more families with school age children living in the parish, and housing development and expansion of outlying hamlets with barn conversions has enriched the community. Concern about the speed of traffic through Fore St has been on the Parish Council agenda to my knowledge since 2008, probably much longer! The nature of the traffic has changed; we have more home delivery vans, more local car owners, and Fore St is also used as a through route from the A38 to Salcombe and Kingsbridge via Church Lane. On a positive note at least the buses now have a one way system.

Many residents of Fore St have front doors opening directly onto the road, and the pavements are very narrow. Negotiating your way along the road with children or a pushchair can be a nightmare, and certainly a daunting experience for the elderly.

Many different options have been investigated over the years, some I note considered on several different occasions. In 2011 there was a public meeting when removal of parking restrictions on one side of Fore St was considered, narrowing the road and forming a single lane road. Other schemes included a cycle path to form a virtual pavement, strategically placed planters, flashing 20mph signs and many more. Throughout this time the Highways Department has been involved in all discussions, and has been asked for advice on reducing the speed and discouraging the rat-run through Fore Street. Many of the suggestions and solutions put forward by us have been rejected by DCC either because the proposals would not be effective or practical, or were deemed to be more dangerous than the situation they were to solve (eg, one way traffic, virtual pavement and cycle path), or would restrict the passage of the buses (alternate parking bays down Fore Street, increased pinch point at Tree Corner).

The recent proposals to install speed cushions and 20 mph roundels have been made by the Highways Department, and the cost falls within the budget allocated to us. We have had to wait 3 years for  our turn for the budget allocation which is to be spent in this financial year. We have been told that 2014-15 is the final year for any money for Devon Highways schemes like this; Government cuts to County Council budgets have been so severe that no more money can be allocated after April. The Highways Department is aware that the installation of speed cushions may be contentious but, research has shown that they are effective in slowing traffic and will reduce the `rat run` effect through Fore Street

Delia Elliott

1 thought on ““Traffic calming in AG – a history” – by Delia Elliott”

  1. With reluctance I support the idea of the speed cushions on Fore Street. I say reluctance because it is a shame that we have to resort to this action. In almost 18 years of living on Fore Street I am surprised that there hasn’t been an accident involving persons, young, old or in between, coming out of their homes onto the road. Having just retired from estate agency, I was asked my opinion as to whether this would affect property values. My response was “No” – in fact hopefully it would help protect values due to the safety factor. Also another benefit would be if it detracted farm vehicles, which have evolved over the years into massive mechanical ‘monsters’, from coming through the village instead of using the by-pass. Every year I see evidence on my front walls of cracking I believe due to the vibrations from heavy vehicle use on the road. Aveton Gifford has become one of the busiest villages I know in the area, which is good in one respect but takes its toll in another. Let us hope that these speed cushions are successful.

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