This post forms part of an occasional series of contributions from guest authors. Dan Kirtley at no. 20a spent a day counting the traffic outside his window and this is the result of his research.
With some reluctance, I have become a curtain-twitching car spotter. A few days ago, I counted the traffic passing our house in the Eastern part of Westgate (the bricked section, leading up to Westgate Roundabout).
We have lived on Westgate for just under two and a half years. Even in that short space of time we’ve noticed an increase in traffic, and I’m sure we’re not the only residents who have had enough of the constant noise pollution and disturbance. We find ourselves avoiding the front part of our house if we can (which is difficult, since we both work from home most of the time).
Just from observing Westgate, it is obvious that it is carrying a very high burden of rat-running vehicles. Drivers travelling between the College (A259) and Westgate roundabouts are increasingly choosing to cut out Via Ravenna and Ave. De Chartres (which to my mind is the appropriate route for this traffic, being non-residential A-class roads, with higher 30mph / 40mph speed limits).
My own strongly-held opinion is that Westgate should be blocked to motor vehicle through-traffic. This would force drivers to use the Via Ravenna route, which incurs extra distance of just c. 600 metres. To me it seems that a block, anywhere between the Sherbourne Road and Parklands Road turnings would help enormously in relieving traffic on our road, while retaining most convenience for local, ‘legitimate’ users seeking access to and from their homes.
I wanted to write to the County Council highlighting the problem. My points were that:
- Sheer volume of traffic is causing significant disturbance to residents, with noise pollution compelling us to avoid the front part of our house.
- Very significant loss of character of an attractive and historic residential street in a conservation area.
- Very real danger to safety of pedestrians and cyclists caused by traffic volume and frequent speeding along this often narrow 20mph road (with no kerb separating road from pavement).
- Daily vibration and shaking of the listed historic building (some 300 years old, and many without significant foundations) The 7.5 ton limit is not enforced and is ignored by a large number of lorries each day.
- Ease of remedy, with the alternative route already in place.
However while writing, I was aware that ‘heavy traffic’ is a potentially subjective complaint. I wanted to have some figures to demonstrate my point, and this brings me back to my new hobby: I counted five thousand vehicles passing our house in just a 12 hour period. This was on Monday 14th September, which actually felt like a usual or lighter-than-usual day (the following day saw severe traffic jams on the road!)
Here are the details of my methodology and the research. Use the magnifying glass or sliding scale to make the table bigger:
[gview file=”http://www.westgatera.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/DK-Traffic-Count.pdf”] The main benefit of the exercise for me was that it proves I’m not mad: there’s definitely far too much traffic using the road. Traffic volume is way out of proportion to the intended use of Westgate for its residents, and as a Class-C distributer road for Parklands.
Whether you agree with my viewpoint and suggested solution or don’t at all, do please feel free to use this survey in any letters you write to the council on the traffic issue.
We are always looking for more contributions like this, so if you would like to send in an article and/or photographs or video about something relevant to the residents of Westgate and its side streets, then please click let us know.